Since I was first taught about our government at home and in my 1950s- and ’60s-era elementary school, I learned the responsibility of voting regularly in elections for representatives we believe or hope will best work to govern with one goal in mind — to bring America closer to its aspirational ideals, summed up in our daily mantra of “… one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Watching nightly news made it obvious that a lot of work was yet needed to to reach this goal, but with the two steps of majority rule forward and one backward, little by little, we seemed a little better each year. Individual rights were expanding, and despite too many tragic setbacks, we moved closer to justice for all. My one flaw here was assuming earned rights could not be rescinded. I was wrong.

Even though I attended Catholic school, I was not taught “liberty and justice only for Catholics,” or “… only for wealthy people, or only for whites, or Hispanics, or Protestants,” or for any one group. I believed that since the Civil War, “indivisible” and “for all” were written in stone, and that happily, this meshed perfectly with what Christianity and most world religions taught.

Bernice García-Baca is a lifelong New Mexican and retired 40-year public school teacher and counselor.

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