Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Of all the articles in the Declaration, save Article 3, this one seems the most inspired by our own Declaration of Independence. It is the cornerstone of the entire Declaration. The necessity of it is so obvious, so basic to being able to say we live in a free, humane and fair world, that it should almost go without saying.  Yet it cannot. It needs to be said. We need to be reminded of our basic value as individuals and as a species with interdependent needs.

It is sad to me that this is not ingrained into the very fiber of our being. I don’t just mean as cultures or nations, but as individuals. No one should have to have it explained to them that another human being is less than they are. Bigotry, however, rears its ugly head every day, in a variety of forms. Male privilege is still the norm in every society on Earth. White supremacy has influenced every corner of our world, making those that don’t fit the Eurocentric view of the world doubt their own worth. Class struggle still causes so much pain. As abstracts these are bad enough, but there are individuals, may of whom are victims of these systems, who will fight to the death to preserve them.

It is not completely without hope. Maybe I am just youth obsessed, but I see a great deal of improvement in this latest generation of adults, at least in the US. Yes, it has its bigots too, but they are fewer and those that would actively stand against them are greater in number, perhaps more so than any generation so far. I have had the honor to know one or two of these people. They are amazingly passionate and compassionate and committed to making this world a better place.

So no, we have not reached the destination this Article, and therefore ultimately the entire Declaration, has set for us. Still, if we don’t rest on the achievements we have made, there is hope we may still get there.


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