Pakistan’s constitutional inequality not only classified millions as second grade citizens but it also poisoned the masses. Today, a ten-minute inflammatory sermon can make many feel obligated to kill a neighbor belonging to a minority group.
So it’s natural for me to note how our US Constitution sweetens the American psyche towards the principles of equality, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness championed in the Declaration of Independence. Even though more than 80 percent of Americans attest to an incomplete understanding of our Constitution (according to a 2011 Time Magazine poll), this document and the principles it establishes instill tolerance for “the different” in our minds.
Americans may not be able to name all the articles and clauses of the Constitution, but they’ve been taught its ethic for most of their lives. It is instilled in them. It allows passionate debates over sensitive issues like whether a woman has a right to abortion or not, whether children born to illegal immigrants are automatically eligible for US citizenship, whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, or whether a mosque should be built near ground zero – instead of applying duct tape over the lips of a minority position.
No wonder millions flock to the American shores. The United States accepts more legal immigrants every year than all other countries combined. In 2008, over a million people were naturalized as US citizens, mainly emigrating from Mexico, India and China.