Looking back at old photographs of how towns and cities used to look is a special thing. It’s mind-blowing to compare them to recent photos and see how far the world has come. America is one of the most changing and revolutionary countries in the world. We are always looking towards the future and wondering what’s next. That’s at least what should be happening. Instead, there are quite a number of citizens who have a mind-set of the 19th century. Back then, white men were better than everyone else. Women and African-Americans were somehow thought of as lesser beings. Here we are, two centuries later, stumbling upon those views more than we should be. With people like that, will America still be the land of opportunities like it always has been?
Not until 1920 were women allowed to vote in national elections. That was less than 100 years ago. Multiple countries gave women the right to vote several years before the United States caught on. Not until the 1960’s were African-Americans treated equally as white people in everyday life. If anyone has ever taken a history class, they know how hard African-Americans worked to receive equal rights. It is hard to even fathom the idea that people back then thought whites were better than blacks, considering how many highly successful and skilled African-Americans there are today, like athletes and our president. It is hard to understand how anyone could still think that way.
Growing up, my teachers drilled into my head how much of a “melting pot” America is. I grew up knowing that America is filled with people of all colors, shapes and ways of life. If people can’t accept that, then maybe they shouldn’t be a part of a country where everyone is treated equal. Oh, but that’s right — that’s not actually true. Not only are women still considered less intelligent, or not as capable, but now that there is an established gay community, we can’t treat them equally either because they aren’t a straight, white male.
After seeing how horrible people have been in world history, I would have guessed everyone could learn from the mistakes of others and try to make the world a better place. But giving gays the right to get married seems to be impossible for America, as a whole, to accomplish. Once again, other countries are realizing how to treat everyone the same earlier than America is by allowing gay marriage. As the great Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” However, it seems Americans like to refer to the Bible to run America more than America’s own rules written when it was established.
So what happened to the separation of Church and State? How can people still be quoting Bible verses to control what happens to people who might not even be Christian? And why doesn’t the American government realize this yet? I am disgusted to say I live in a country where folks are more concerned about the possibility of getting their hunting rifles taken away. If we can’t do something as simple as grant marriage to everyone, then how do we expect to control something as widespread and controversial as gun control? The government seems to have its priorities mixed up.
“The American Dream” is a concept known around the world, but little do people know, you have to fit a certain criteria in order to be accepted in America. We’re supposed to be the land of the free, yet people are afraid to be who they are. Religion, gender, race and sexual orientation are all reasons which may constitute for you not being good enough to the average American. There should be bigger things to worry about, but if something as easy as gay marriage can’t be passed in America, it’s only a matter of time before the hate becomes greater than the love in the world and that is when the world will fall miserably to its knees in defeat. When the power of love overcomes the love of power, that is when the world will know peace.
Alexa Hopson is a sophomore in apparel, merchandising and design from Grimes, Iowa.