Friday, March 5, 2010


By : George A. Gleichman, an Apple born and raised in the United States of America (2010).

I am an American apple. My seeds grew in American soil. I matured on an American tree. I live in American air. And I am proud to be an American. When you look at me, you think: "That's an American apple."

I love this country. It gave me life and freedom. But advantages are not the only thing I love about America. Rather, I love this country because it stands for equality. Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said that our country is committed to the proposition that all men are created equal. Thomas Jefferson said the same thing in the Declaration of Independence. Later, our Constitution affirmed America's proud commitment to equality: "No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." U.S. Const. Amd XIV, § 1.

For generations, we have fought to vindicate our egalitarian ideals in America. Throughout our history, we have battled to eradicate injustice and inequality in our land. We suffered civil war in order to free black Americans from slavery. Since then, we have struggled to give black Americans an equal chance at success. We have learned to revile discrimination. We recoil from unequal treatment in all its forms. We are committed to justice.

No American--black or white--deserves to suffer discrimination. Discrimination hurts. Discrimination marks you out as "different" and "wrong." It poisons souls. Our law takes a firm position against discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head. Even white employees can claim that their supervisors discriminated against them in hiring, pay, promotion and perks. Put simply, our law embodies the uniquely American commitment to equality that has guided our Republic since Jefferson's time. That is why we detest discrimination in all its forms.

What is discrimination? It means treating similarly-situated people and things differently. It means making crude distinctions. It means picking one person or thing over another. Every time a person chooses one thing over another, he discriminates. And discrimination is bad. It is un-American. It is anti-egalitarian. We are all equal in this country. No one deserves to suffer discrimination. No one likes to be passed over or treated unfairly.

Sadly, American apples endure rampant discrimination all over the country. Every single day, bigoted orchard workers ruthlessly examine American apples, judging some "acceptable" and others "bad." Then they pick the "acceptable" ones and toss the "bad" ones in a waste bin. Sometimes they even discriminate on the basis of color, too. They praise red apples. They even guarantee them a future at fruit stands. But not so for yellowing apples. Yellowing apples get tossed away and mashed into a pulp in some horrific juice processing warehouse. And no one hears their cries.

No American--whether human or apple--deserves vicious discrimination like this. How is it just to permit white human employees to sue employers for lunch hour discrimination, yet leave yellow apples without a remedy against brutally unequal treatment? After all, apples are apples. It does not matter whether they are red, green, yellow, ripe, unripe, rotten, soft or dying. They are still apples. They still have the same cells and cell walls. They still belong to the same genus and species. In short, they are similarly-situated. As such, how can our country permit discrimination against them?

If America's commitment to equality means anything, it must end apple discrimination NOW. We are as American as apple pie. In fact, there would be no apple pie without us. And without apple pie, America would not be the same place.

I was lucky. An apple-picker in Washington State looked at me and let me survive. But many of my brethren were not so fortunate. Some were not shiny enough. Others looked sickly. Still others did not quite make the color standard. Others were not big enough. Still others were too small. No matter their so-called "flaws," they all met the same fate: Savagely ripped from their branches, mashed to a pulp and hosed down into a sewer to be digested by beetles, rats, worms and horrible crawling insects.

Consider how these poor American apples felt when this happened. Think about what must have gone through their minds when the apple-picker said: "Ah, forget this one; it's too soft." Or: "Ewww, it's rotten. Get rid of it." Yet they were apples, just like me. They deserved equal treatment under law, not ruthless discriminatory judgment. Discrimination cuts to the core. Think about how my poor brothers must have felt when unfairly punished for faults beyond their control. A rotten apple does not ask to be rotten: It simply is. An apple's nature is no reason to discriminate against him. No American should ever endure unfairness like this.

America can do better than this. America has always done the right thing. And it can do the right thing when it comes to apples. America freed the slaves. It committed itself to equality for all under law. It recoils from unfairness and unequal treatment, no matter where it occurs. In short, America knows injustice when it appears. We are confident that America will recognize our ordeal soon enough. When Americans see the gross discrimination that apples face every single day, we are confident that public outcry will give us the protection we need. After all, Americans are decent people. They do not like it when living organisms suffer discriminatory treatment. It arouses their sense of justice. And they move purposefully to end it.

Why should only "people" enjoy "equal protection" under law? Are apples really so different from humans that they deserve discrimination and death? Bigots claim that discrimination is appropriate when two things are not similarly-situated. They say that humans and apples are sufficiently different from each other that differential treatment is reasonable.

But this is pure sophistry: Apples and humans are similar, not different. We both need air to survive. We both have cells. We both live and die. We both need water. We both need nourishment. We both reproduce. True, humans have blood and we don't. But we have juice, and that is very similar to blood. And the mere fact that we can perform photosynthesis is no reason to treat us differently under law. I always believed that America took strength from its diverse population: Why should it not be proud to include citizens who can perform photosynthesis? It is proud to include Pakistanis, cripples, Muslims and Chinese. Why not photosynthesis practitioners? Are they really so different from people who wear turbans? No matter what the bigots say, apples and humans are both living organisms. And we both deserve equality in this great Republic.

In sum, America must end discrimination against apples. For centuries, the United States has prided itself on eradicating unequal treatment and unfairness within its borders. It has expanded liberty and freedom. It has moved against discrimination in all its forms, whether racial, ancestral, gender-related or employment-related. Put simply, America does not like differential treatment. It fights to ensure that everyone receives the same treatment.

Against this background, we are confident that Americans will soon recognize apples' plight. Rectifying injustice against apples is simply the next evolutionary step on America's proud path to freedom. Blacks gained equality. Then women. Then employees. Then cripples. Then homosexuals. Now, apples demand equality. We, too, are living creatures with cells. We are the same as people, whether black, insane, handicapped, Catholic, gay or all five. People are apples. Apples are people. And similarly-situated people--and apples--deserve equal treatment. That is just the American way. Anything else is unjust.

Yet that is not how it is now. That is why every American must fight for apples just as strongly as they fought against slavery. After all, today apples face a bleak future at the mercy of bigoted apple-pickers who ignore the law. Billions of apples have already been pressed into oblivion, discarded, peeled for sport, quartered, gulped down by children, fermented into cider or imbibed simply because some apple-picker unfairly discriminated against them in some forgotten orchard.

It is time to stop this unforgivable cycle. It is time to heed our national conscience. It is time to remember that America stands for equality for all living things, even living things with shiny green skin and tasty pulp. And it is time to say what we already know: That discrimination is morally wrong. It is no excuse to say that apples are "different." You know they aren't. Apples are living things, just like you. You wouldn't grind your mother to a pulp and stick her in a gallon jug, would you? Of course not.

That is why we must all do the right thing. We must end apple discrimination TODAY. This is not about self-interested apples. This is about justice.

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