by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Since the 1960s, presidents have gone out of their way to honor and promote the foundational principle of equality under the law.
After Governor George Wallace stood in the door of the University of Alabama to prevent its racial integration, President Kennedy took to the airwaves to reassure all Americans that our country was “founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” This century, commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., President Obama spoke about how the brave civil-rights activists assaulted that day “didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.”
Unfortunately, a unifying message of equality is no longer coming out of our nation’s highest office. Speaking just six days after his inauguration, President Biden called for the government to instead emphasize “racial equity,” the promotion of which he said needs to be “the business of the whole government.”
It hasn’t taken long for the meaning of Biden’s words to become clear. In recent weeks, Biden administration officials have been feverishly implementing several programs that are only open to Americans of a certain race or gender. For example, on May 3, the Small Business Administration (SBA) started accepting applications for grants from the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. But because of a preference given to restaurants owned by women and certain minorities, nearly all restaurants owned by white males were excluded from applying.
Tony Vitolo, who owns Jake’s Bar & Grill near Knoxville, Tenn., sued in federal court with the help of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), the non-profit law firm where I serve as a deputy counsel. WILL is representing Vitolo pro bono in his suit.
“I do not want special treatment, but I just want to be treated equally under the law,” Vitolo says.