NOVEMBER 01, 1974 by GEORGE ELLIS
Mr. Ellis is a free-lance writer from Aurora, Illinois.
Critics of the United States are quick to point out that ours is not a truly democratic system because people are not all on a level and alike. But when did democracy offer to guarantee the similarity of people or grade mankind down to a dead flat? Democracy declares that men, unequal in their endowments, shall be equal in their right to develop those endowments.
Classes must exist in every social order. The moment you have men developed by different kinds of work, on different sides of their nature, you have classes.
What democracy says is that there shall be no locked door between these classes. Every stairway shall be open. Every opportunity shall be free. Every talent shall have an equal chance to earn another talent. Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.
Our system may not be perfect, but it is the best thing we have developed so far. It would be physically impossible for all the farmers’ sons in the country to become President. But any of them may do so, and several of them have done so.
These cases are not accidents. They are logical evidences of an equality among men in the only sense in which equality is possible — equality of opportunity.
The malcontent who has given nothing to his country, but protests against its principles in spite of the fact it has given him the best life in the world, must be taught that we have created on this continent, in less than two centuries, a civilization that is the envy and inspiration of nations five or ten times as old.
They must be made to remember that men do not make bloody footprints crossing a frozen Delaware River just to see what is on the other side. They do it to leave a well-marked trail that others may follow toward a worthwhile destination — Freedom.