Recognition of our Individual worth as human beings is essential and right. This recognition can be found in the spiritual notion that we are more than our bodies, a divine spark. We are spiritual beings living a human life for a purpose. Or the constitutional notion that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Or the moral notion, the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Or the practical notion that since I don’t want my barn burned down, I shouldn’t burn down my neighbors’ barn. Or the causal notion that we all occupy the same planet and what each of us does, will impact others even if we aren’t aware of that impact. So no matter what differences divide us, be they real or imagined, we are all still in the same boat.
Ultimately, it matters not which notion or series of notions you base this commonality on, as the good conduct that necessarily flows from any of them is sufficient to realize a better future for the whole society. Admittedly, some of the notions are loftier than others and would produce an even better attitudinal change. But at the end of the day, the goal is to use our political and economic system to seek the common good by avoiding the conceits and follies of maintaining an empire and creating a stable economy based on the rule of law. If we are able to avoid civil strife and/or a breakup of our union, while building a future for our children, then we will have succeeded. Perfection in ourselves is impossible. But the effort to allow our better angels to shine above our baser instincts is still integral to the effort. Because when we conquer our egos, to become servants for others and not ourselves, the common good can be realized. This personal betterment will engrain within us this core guiding principle of Unity and produce the following fruits.
It may not be apparent what the common good is, but we need to start by at least asking the question. Each of us pursuing our utmost gain individually doesn’t insure that more lofty or altruistic ends are met. Just as important, certain times in our history call for this advocacy of the common good not simply as a better way, but a necessary way for the salvation of the country as suggested by Core Principle #8 The Season of our Discontent.
It would seem self-evident that we would and should desire to leave this world better than we found it. To reject this conclusion suggests we have no love of anything that survives us. One day in the future our children will be sitting by a fire with their grandchildren on their laps. What stories will they tell of the world we left them? Will it be of great words and heroic deeds? Or will it be a story of blame, selfishness, and arrogance. The children are our future. They deserve a future.
Shared sacrifice suggests we have some sense of our common direction. It may not be realistic to expect any one person or group to volunteer to be the first to jump on this bandwagon. No one wants to be the first to step forward. Fear of being the first to step out of the comfort of the herd into the focus of the predator doesn’t seem wise. But it will happen. To build a consensus for sacrifice it is only necessary to examine the sacrifices made by others who came before us. Storming the beaches of Normandy tells a different story than complaining about having to take your shoes off at a TSA airport screening. FDR told us that all we had to fear was fear itself, while George Bush told us to go shopping. This contrast says it all.
There is plenty of blame to go around. The well is limitless when it comes to finding ways to be aggrieved. The only way to move forward is to give up those cherished hurts, insults, and crimes that we all feel we have been subjected to. You can’t change one person’s thoughts or actions by harboring blame. You can’t change one historical event by harboring blame. The blame only consumes you. Forgive everyone including yourself.
People do have real differences based on what they value. A political process that is working reasonably well should sort out these issues, as best it can, consistent with the constitution. Hot button issues like gun control, gay marriage, the wall between church and state, etc. should be mentally compartmentalized by each of us so that we don’t allow ourselves to be manipulated.
We must also guard against the false reasoning provided by the political switcheroo. How often is your patriotic support of the U.S. military contingent on accepting the justification for a war? These are two separate issues. You can support the men and women who fight, without agreeing with the mission. Better yet is to prevent a mission that should not be undertaken.
Similarly, how many times are citizens manipulated to support legislation that only benefits a few select businesses in the name of free enterprise? This is often done in the context of a current benefit shared by a few businesses that comes under attack. Free enterprise is then invoked as a sacrosanct principle that must not be tampered with when actually corporate crony capitalism is what is really at stake.
The primary way to determine who is causing division is to see who benefits from any particular governmental choice. Follow the money and you will find those who gain from division. To discover the benefactors of division you must understand the system. Crony capitalists and their minions first capture the reigns of government by contributing campaign contributions to the political elite.
These contributions allow them unparalleled access to influence legislation. Once the fix is in, benefits flow to the crony capitalists that are unavailable to small businesses. All taxpayers ultimately pay these benefits. The crony capitalists then capture the reigns of the executive branch by opening the revolving door between the regulators and the regulated. The regulators watch the hen house for a few years then go to work as lobbyists for the fox.
Meanwhile the political class is spending big bucks to keep America’s poor and elderly, who pay no taxes, docile with any of a number of governmental programs. The squeeze is now complete as everyone left, a vast array of middle to upper middle class folks and small businesses, pay the bills and suffer from the imperial edicts constantly imposed upon them. Their acquiescence is enforced by the apparent futility of opposing the government and the realization that in such a highly regulated environment, all of us could stand accused of some violation of law that could be held against us, if we protest too loudly.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? “But… the good Samaritan reversed the question “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity
are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?
I know that my unity with all people cannot be destroyed by national boundaries and government orders.
All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man…the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. Man does not weave this web
of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
The highest result of education is tolerance.
Long ago men fought and died for their faith;
but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage, – the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience.
There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.
The highest revelation is that God is in every man.
We are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
We must all hang together,or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.
Each man is an island unto himself. But though a sea of difference may divide us, an entire world of commonality lies beneath.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.