Thursday, June 30, 2011

A New Protection Pledge

In the last post, I talked about the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which Grover Norquist has placed in front of all incumbents and candidates for office, and gotten quite a few to sign.

In England, there is a move toward a different type of pledge coming from a similar inequality being experienced there as here.  The Equality Trust (profiled earlier in this blog) has asked all members of Parliament to sign an “Equality Pledge” which reads as follows:

"Compelling new evidence presented by The Equality Trust shows that more equal societies - those with a narrower gap between rich and poor - are more cohesive, healthier, suffer fewer social problems and are more environmentally sustainable. In view of these findings I am committed to making the UK a more equal society as the most effective means of building a better society.  I will therefore actively support the case for policies designed to narrow the gap between rich and poor; and engage with the debate on which measures should be implemented to achieve that aim."

This is a relatively new movement and is being organized from the ground up.  Citizens are asked to place the Equality Pledge in front of candidates or incumbents so that by the time the politician signs it, he or she is reasonably confident that his or her constituency is aware of the issues that give rise to this pledge. So far, 75 of the 659 Members of Parliament have signed it and the number is growing every day.  This pledge is much more low-key than the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  The Equality Pledge commits the signer to support the “case for policies” and to “engage with the debate” without holding them hostage to any particular policy or proposal.  It does put signers on records as agreeing with the proposition that more equal societies do better than less equal ones.  

Given our historical inability to approve even the very mild language of the Equal Rights Amendment or CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women) and the struggles to approve the Voting Rights Act, it seems unlikely that very many in Congress would sign an equality pledge. 

But what if we decided to sign it, just in the privacy of our homes, with no hoopla, no announcement on Facebook or Twitter?  Just a commitment to raise issues of equity and equality whenever and wherever we can and to engage in deep, meaningful and honest conversation with ourselves, friends, family and co-workers on just what kind of society we want, and what are the policies that get us there? 

I pledge to start this weekend:  the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution which begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”    It seems like a good time to raise the questions and to finally acknowledge that these truths are not self-evident at all, but must be made evident through debate, discussion, and made meaningful through very profound changes in the way we all do business

1 comment:

janinsanfran said...

That's the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

But I like the idea!