Sixty-five years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. The Declaration was drafted by the United Nations, and chaired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The goal of the Declaration was to strive for “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights [for] all members of the human family.” But, many people in our nation are being denied these basic human rights.
Wealth inequality and inhumane austerity measures have benefited the wealthy, while denying most of us an equal chance at a life of dignity. Poverty wages, staggering student loan debt, the foreclosure crisis, and the slashing of our social safety net – have all left the super rich unharmed, while weakening our universal human rights to own property, escape servitude, and experience real freedom. We cannot be truly free when we are fighting for basic necessities, or trapped in an abusive job just so that we can pay our student loans.
To make matters worse, disastrous free trade agreements and fiscal legislation have locked in low tax rates for the wealthy and cemented these inhumane policies in place for the future. These basic rights were bestowed upon us by our Fore Fathers, and confirmed again in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet they have been eroded, and they continue to get weakened every day. And, the fight to regain these inalienable rights will not be easy.
Americans must recognize that their basic human rights are being taken away, and that they deserve to be free from crushing debt and poverty wages. We must work together to prove that the words “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness” were not just poetry, but basic human rights that we deserve.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.