English 10, Period: 06
America was an experienced man who could only have once. It was the new world. It was known to be the land of dreams. It was the land of the free. Or, as Thomas Paine suggests, the poor are not oppressed, and the rich are not privileged. Paine manages to summarize the ideal image of America quite nicely into one paragraph, which is astounding. Unfortunately, most of his visionary description does not hold today and is evident in our current political, social, cultural, or even individual ideals. The crux of the excerpt alludes to the idea that America is a country where many cultures, religions, and languages coexist. Paine suggests that our government, which was created "on the principles of society and the rights of man" and that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [Declaration of Independence] can overcome the differences above.
Although some opines might feel that the diversity of America makes it unique and it will always remain a characteristic of the country that no power can take away, at the same time, they also agree that Paine's portrayal of America is somewhat utopian and unrealistic. His interpretation is more exaggeration than truth, and this assertion can easily and readily be impugned. The disharmonious existence of multiple cultures and religions has been seen throughout this country's history and today. Paine acknowledges that it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable, and to some extent, it is. While most people can coexist peacefully with their neighbors, it is clear that this is not always the case. After 9/11, Muslims became the target of racial violence and religious discrimination, not by the government but by the people themselves.
Similarly, The Central Park Five cannot be forgotten when mentioning racial hate and injustice. In 1989 the men, then teenagers, were arrested in connection with the rape and assault of a white female jogger and eventually convicted in a case that came to symbolize the stark injustices black and brown people experience within the legal system and in media coverage. They were sentenced based partly on police-coerced confessions, and each spent between six and thirteen-plus years in prison for charges including attempted murder, rape, and assault. The men maintained their innocence throughout the case, trial, and prison terms, and all were acquitted after Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist, confessed...