In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." Mr. Jefferson was a wordsmith and he used words very carefully.  Why "equal" and not "same"? It's a subtle difference.

At the root of equal is the understanding that there is a quantitative value or measure.  A mathematical definition and boundary.  Same has some wiggle room. For example, the words there and their are pronounced the same yet they are spelled differently and have different meanings. So while the words may be equal in quantitative value, they are not the same in meaning.

My 82-year-old mother frequently says "I love you kids all the same," to my adult siblings and me.  My experience, however, is that while she loves us all equally--because, after all, love is, well, love--she does not love us the same. We each came into her life at a different point in her own development as a person, as a parent, during different life circumstances, and required different attention from her. We were, and are, unique individuals and a one-size-fits-all expression of love is neither appropriate nor possible.

Every living being on our wonderful planet is equal. Each one of us is capable of contributing to the welfare and prosperity of all of us on this planet. We are all equal in that respect. We are unique, however, in our individual contributions, choices, and abilities.  As it should be. While we ARE equal, we thrive thanks to our diversity of expression, our not-sameness.

In the past week, several nations, including the United States, celebrated Independence Day, a concept based on equality and equal rights.  In the past week, we've had three tragic incidents in this country completely negating that idea of equality enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

We are all equal, regardless of the differences in opinion, race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, species, IQ, health, wealth, political affiliations...etc.

We are not, not now, not ever, the same.

Respect THAT!


Published by Margarita Danielian