Dick Baynton: Fairness and Equality

Dick Baynton

What does fair mean? How can the word equality be defined? The answer to these questions is certain: the definition of ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ is usually defined by the writer or speaker of the word(s). To some people all the boys on the neighborhood T-Ball team should get an award and recognition for being present. Is that fair to the boy who hit the home run that won the game and gets the same recognition as the boy that fumbled the ball allowing two runs to cross the plate? These awards for ‘being present’ may dull their sense of competitiveness and limit their progress later in life.

The reality has always existed that we are all born equal; within seconds unfairness and inequality set in. One little boy born to a single mother on welfare; a little girl born minutes later, the daughter of a restaurant waitress and a skilled welder; at a hospital a few miles away twins are born to a registered nurse whose husband is a physician. It is clear that these four fictional babies, born on the same day are likely to have different opportunities as their brains and bodies develop and they attend schools and plan and pursue careers.

Although former President Obama made speeches denying voter fraud, a Pew Foundation study found that 226 counties in 42 states had more actual voters than registered ones in addition to 1.8 million deceased voters on the rolls. The Meese Foundation at The Heritage Foundation found 462 voter fraud cases with 742 convictions in various court records. Is it fair to legal voters to have their votes compromised by votes of fraudulent voters?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) joined forces with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and took on Westchester County, NY several years ago ruling that racial bias was influencing housing because there were so few minority homeowners in many residential areas. But when Westchester County executive Rob Astorino came up with the thoughtful commentary, “What we’ve learned is affordable housing is unaffordable. It’s unaffordable for the people who end up living there who need to be subsidized as well as for the developers who couldn’t build it without tax breaks. The math doesn’t work out.”Government backed off.

There are thousands of laws that require integrity in the exchange of products and services and for individuals and companies that break those laws, prompt discipline and/or punishment should be handed out. Our system of juris prudence is considered the final arbiter of all differences of (legal) opinion and although it may take time to progress through the courts, the U.S. Supreme Court is considered the final appeal of fairness and equality.

Any conversation about fairness and equality must include the contemporary and past troubles with the concept of free speech. The riots and fires in Detroit (1967), Los Angeles (1960’s), Harlem (1964), Baltimore (2015), Ferguson, MO (2014), Charlottesville, VA (2017) and St. Louis, MO (2017) have only deepened the racial and economic divide of citizens. Detroit has shrunk from a population of 1,849,568 in 1950 to an estimated 672,795 in 2016, Baltimore from 949,708 to 614,664 and St. Louis, MO from 856,796 to 311,404 over the same years. Meantime, cities like Columbus, OH have grown from about 376,000 to 860,000 and Virginia Beach, VA has expanded from about 45,000 to more than 450,000.

Rioting about statues, stopping traffic and looting when a court decision is contested by rumor and hearsay tend to produce anarchy that sabotages the economy, the educational process and jobs for many years. Currently about half our population of almost 326 million receive monthly government payments while the other half funds those payments through taxation. We are beyond the tipping point of fairness and equality and the noble concept of all able workers contributing to the economy must be enforced to help pay down the national debt of more than $20 trillion. It is up to each of us to determine our version of fairness and equality in everything we do.

Paraphrasing remarks made by Mark Twain many years ago, here is a question, ‘Why is physical gallantry so commonplace and moral courage so rare?’

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