The Declaration of Independence says,
“… all men are created equal …”
Most Americans would agree that this is one of their core beliefs.
But after that instant of creation, things change. You and I may not be so equal a few years down the road.
If someone commits a crime, we (society) take away their right to liberty. We lock them up because they’ve shown they can’t be trusted with that right. And the death penalty, well, that certainly takes away someone’s right to life, doesn’t it? What about their right to the pursuit of happiness? Yeah, I guess that one’s gone, too.
Rights can be taken away.
What about the other way? Can I get more rights than someone else?
Get elected and you get more rights.
Our representatives make new laws, decide how much of your income to commandeer, and where to spend it.
Can you do that if you’re not a legislator?
See? Your Representative has more rights than you.
What about dropping bombs in a foreign territory, can you do that?
The President can. He’s got more rights than you.
Can you live in the White House?
And he can stop new laws that Congress passes. Can you do that?
And can you overrule his veto?
Well, Congress can. They have more rights than you.
Gee, you’re not very equal, are you?
While we may be created equally, that’s as far as it goes. Thereafter, some individuals get more rights than others.
And some have their rights taken away. If you do bad things to others, you will lose your rights.
The Declaration of Independence says, “… all men are created equal …” and that’s a great starting point. And it goes on to say that you have a right to “… Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …”
But that’s just the beginning.
After that, it’s up to you to figure things out and make what you can of your life.
The Constitution and Declaration of Independence don’t mention that.
And they don’t say it’s gonna be easy, either.
All they guarantee you are some basic rights; those of (emphasis added):
“… Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
Everything after that moment of creation is up to you to figure out.
Good luck and hope you have a nice life!