In the little contest with Mr. Abler, I have proposed four progressive ideas that have changed our society. My fifth progressive idea is that all people are equal.

Progressives stated in 1776, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

In the midst of the Civil War caused by the issue of slavery, the progressive (radical liberal in some circles) Abraham Lincoln said, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

A hundred years later progressives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There were political consequences, however, and they were twofold. The act paved the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, amongst others.

The second consequence was a dramatic political shift. After the Civil War, the Democratic Party became the dominant political force in the South. By 1990, the Republican Party was dominant, and it continues to be.

While the idea of equality of all people is a noble goal, we humans seem to have a difficult time adopting it. Throughout history down to today, certain groups have been considered to be not equal because of their sex, or their religion, or their race, or their sexual orientation.

In each instance, people have used religion to justify why the group was not equal. This, of course, also provided a clear conscience for discrimination. Even so, equality is a noble goal.

Robert Eliason,

Lake Shore