What are our rights as Americans? Well, the Declaration of Independence says that our inalienable rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But this doesn’t mean everyone is equal. I know, I know, we need equal rights, but having equal rights doesn’t mean we are all truly equal.
Our rights are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” not “land, money and jobs.” Over time, people have forgotten these specific rights and what they mean. We have the right to life, but that doesn’t mean that everyone automatically gets the same amount of money when they are born. We also have the right to liberty, which means that everyone is free and can think and decide for themselves. It doesn’t mean that everyone will immediately have a well-paying job and free education. We also have the right to pursue happiness. This means that I have the right to try and find something or do something that makes me happy; it doesn’t mean that the government has to give me whatever I want to make me happy.
If the U.S. government decided to make everyone truly equal it would not end well. If anyone has read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, then they know that forcing everyone to be equal will only end in death and destruction.
These rights allow people to work harder and get better jobs or doctorates and to make more money, but that does not mean everyone will do it. I have the right — and the ability — to go to college, get a degree and find a well-paying job, but that doesn’t mean I will become a billionaire. I also have the right to not go to college or earn a steady salary, and I can choose to get a minimum-wage job. This also means that the people who worked hard and became billionaires because of their innovation or talents (e.g., Bill Gates or Kylie Jenner) should not be forced to pay higher taxes or give their money away.
In conclusion, the government cannot make everyone equal. And even though we have equal rights, no government policy or program will make us equal. The government needs to have a limited role in our republic. Its role is to ensure a level playing field but not to impose an ideological utopian construct of egalitarianism.
Maggie Currey, 17, is a resident of Columbia.