Human rights vs. political views

Sumi Rao, Copy Editor

In today’s political climate, what’s defined as political views is unethically intertwined with our basic rights as humans. Topics concerning the LGBTQ+ community, Black Lives Matter, ICE Detention centers, systemic racism, abortion and police brutality have all become political playgrounds for people to harbor their ignorance. 

“I believe that political views are often used to debate the validity of human rights. This is what tends to create a divide in human rights,” Amnesty International member senior Sarah Elobaid said. 

According to the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that every human is born equal and free and no one should be held in servitude. However, for political reasons, people tend to suffer from human rights violations in countries with poorly established governments where basic needs are unable to be met. But even with our American democracy and comparatively thriving society, there are still social issues that contradict what has been promised to us as Americans.

In the case of police brutality, police officers are generally trained to respond to conflicts using force rather than civil communication to soothe the situation at hand. On May 25, an African American man named George Floyd was murdered at the hands of the police officers who were supposed to be there to protect civilians like him. When in an altercation by the police, we must be seen as equals working towards solving the problem at hand. George Floyd’s murder was a direct result of a lack of concern for his human rights and should’ve never been justified.

We step out into the world everyday in hopes that in conflict, we can trust our police force to protect and serve our community. Floyd’s and many other minority lives have been taken away from the world due to horrific treatment by our police force and it becomes concerning when politicians, who have such a large impact on the American people, blatantly disregard movements like BLM, where a change in systemic policies for our human rights, is fought for.

“I believe that no matter what your political views are they should not affect your views on human rights,” Young Democrats member junior Cole Jencks said. 

When thinking politically, people tend to favor what the political party they resonate with believes. But what’s important to understand is that politics becomes quite dangerous when people decide to blindly follow a candidate, presidential or local, simply because of their affiliation with their chosen political party. Government policies start harming individuals when what is written, seriously debated and established as a law, is in support of hurting marginalized lives and promising futures.

In recent times, the disregard for equal opportunity amongst many marginalized groups of people has brought forth a new wave of racism and bigotry which only proves the progress America has made is being diminished. Not only do human rights define our liberty but it also includes our equality, prosperity and inclusivity in the big picture of humanity. Minority groups are susceptible to danger and hate when the people we elect into power have a lack of respect towards these groups’ societal experiences, which in turn adds more ignorance into the way our society views them.   

“There is a difference between [political views and human rights] because human rights should not be debatable whereas political views are. People can morally debate issues up until the point where it jeopardizes or marginalizes a group of people.” Elobaid said. 

Although human rights and government policies can overlap in certain areas, it is no justification for how our American political system tends to target minority groups in the grand problem of systemic oppression. According to Time Magazine, after the Civil War, we purified America by purging slavery from our historic past and changing future, but the long-lasting effects have left us with an education system that continually fails Black Americans, a significantly subsidized healthcare system as well as low income wages that have left many Americans working for the means of survival. 

Nearly 75% of individuals understand that systemic oppression/racism is a problem and 57% agree that Black Americans are more likely to face police brutality than any other demographic group, according to Monmouth University polling. The impacts of slavery on African Americans have undoubtledly created a system that overlooks people of color. 

Though we are all given opportunities to be successful, the path to success for minority groups is harder due to societal factors out of their control. With that said, we as Americans are also entitled to our own opinions based on personal experiences which can conclude our political beliefs. However, it’s important to understand our basic human rights are the only access to our freedoms promised to us in our Constitution, and they should never be politicized or debated.

“I believe they do go hand in hand, but they should not be treated the same way. Everyone should be able to outgrow an individualistic mindset and work together to protect human rights, as we are all part of the greater system of humanity,” Elobaid said.