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"With Liberty and Justice for All" ??

"... one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." My almost four year old beams as he finishes reciting the pledge of allegiance he has set his determined mind on knowing. It seems so sweet and perfect right after the fourth of July celebrations.

However- we are not indivisible. There is not liberty or justice for all. When our founding fathers wrote all people in the United States of America (and all people for that matter) deserve "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence, they found those three inalienable rights undeniable to anyone and the job of the nation is to protect them. I would even go as far to say our determination to protect each individual's life, liberty and their own personal pursuit of happiness is what drove the first Americans to declare independence in 1776.

There was no liberty or justice for Alton Sterling. He was denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is no liberty or justice for Quinyetta McMillion.

There was no liberty or justice for Philando Castile. He was denied life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is not liberty or justice for his fiance Diamond Reynolds. Do you think her four year old daughter (the same age as my white son) is going to be believing the pledge of allegiance "...liberty and justice for all." as she recalls witnessing her to be father murdered by police of the United States of America???? Does she believe her unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are protected by the government of this nation? No.

There was no liberty or justice for the five police officers shot in Dallas. Do you think their children will believe the pledge when they recite, "...one nation under God, indivisible...."??? No.

There was and is daily no liberty and justice for our fellow citizens growing up terrorized by gang violence. The children who experience this violence daily in cities like Chicago do not enjoy the same life, liberty and pursuit of happiness my children do in the suburbs of San Diego.

How are we one nation? President Obama is saying we are not as divided as people think. I say we are and have been divided for far to long. The fear, hatred, and unconscionably violence are symptoms that we are no longer the nation our founding fathers dreamed of when we declared independence in 1776.

The pledge of allegiance sounds great - but it does not apply to everyone. We could add - "...liberty and justice for all except black men and boys, homeless, gays, and anyone who stands for something other people don't agree with."  And amend the Declaration of Independence to say "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.. unless you happen to be involved in another mass shooting then these rights no longer apply. 
I am angry. I have no idea what life is like as Diamond Reynolds. I have no idea how it feels to be pulled over by a police officer and be terrified for my life while still responding, "I will sir, no worries, I will."

So let's do something about it. Let's not make the pledge of allegiance we teach our children as fictitious as the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Let's actually remember the whole reason our nation was founded. We have voices. We are a generation of strength. We are a generation of influence. Our voices can be heard now better than ever before. First we have to face the truth before we can actually do something.

So, Ms. Quinyetta McMillion, I will not rest either. I will not let what happen be forgotten or "swept into the dust." Because we can still become One Nation. Under God. Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for ALL.

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