When Third World dictators, communists the world over, or even leftists at home accuse the United States of human rights abuses, we laugh. We dismiss them as crazy--as either trying to justify their own horrible abuses, or as propaganda-minded extremists.
The reason we laugh, justifiably so in some cases, is because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "human rights," which we define as political rights: the rights of free speech, free thought, and the right to a general freedom from organized oppression. Yet these rights, valuable and important as they are, only fall under the umbrella of human rights, rights which encompass a whole lot more.
Sadly, in a great city in this great nation, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, the most basic and fundamental right of a little 9-year-old girl was denied--the right to live.
Tammy Tiggs, we discover, was denied that right for two reasons: ignorance, and her mother's failure to pay a $34 electric bill. The power company, which is set up only as a business, is probably not responsible for the denial of Tammy Tiggs' rights. However, the state, and therefore its people are. Tammy Tiggs' rights were denied for the worst possible reason: money.
Yes, in America the concept of human rights is alive and well. Sometimes, though, those rights may cost a few bucks.