Sunday, September 15, 2013
I had to attend to some personal matters yesterday in Tennessee and was unable to post a new article.
I write today to remind everyone about the importance of basing our conduct on the Golden Rule. We humans could literally change the world in an instant if we could get everyone in the world to agree to base their conduct on the Golden Rule. I am not the first person to say this. Philosophers and spiritual leaders have been saying this throughout recorded history. Nevertheless, instead of seeing progress in our country toward reaching a consensus about the fundamental importance of basing all human conduct on the Golden Rule, I see a retreat from it. I do not believe it is a coincidence that we are also seeing an increase in racism, disrespect for human rights, incarceration and demonization of the poor and the mentally ill.
I have a few simple questions.
1. If George Zimmerman believed in the Golden Rule, would he have gone hunting for Trayvon Martin or would he have identified himself and asked him if he needed any help?
2. Would racism exist if people followed the Golden Rule?
3. Would the right wing hate machine gain traction or lose credibility, if people followed the Golden Rule?
4. Would people, including the blind, be buying guns in record numbers, if people followed the Golden Rule?
5. Would the United States be interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and considering bombing Syria, if people and the government followed the Golden Rule?
6. What do we have to change about our thinking in order to apply the Golden Rule in our lives?
Let’s start with the last question because I think it is the fundamental question that answers the other questions.
We live in a society in which many politicians play the fear card to promote fear, suspicion of strangers, and demonization of the other. Seems like they are constantly declaring a war against this or that alleged calamity instead of using evidence based research to identify problems and propose reasonable solutions. No one is going to seriously consider following the Golden Rule, if they believe their existence is constantly threatened. Instead, they are more likely to follow a perversion of the rule and do unto others before they do unto you. This is the idea behind preemptive strikes in self-defense that our government used to justify invading Iraq and we all know how that turned out.
We have seen the fear card played over and over and it is long past time to recognize we are being played and refuse to support politicians who persist with the one-trick-pony show.
We need to reorient our thinking to see our fellow humans as basically the same as we are regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or the language one speaks. Our differences should be celebrated rather than feared. For example, the science of genetics informs us that 99.99% of human DNA is identical. Therefore, the obvious differences we see in others, such as skin color, are really insignificant in the big picture. Beneath the skin we are the same.
We cannot eliminate suffering by practicing the Golden Rule, but we certainly can reduce it. Rather than disregarding the Golden Rule as impractical and demonizing all Muslims as enemies or potential enemies, we should examine our nation’s conduct in the past to see what we did wrong or could have done differently to have avoided the hatred of so many people. This requires evidence based thinking, which is the mature and intelligent way for individuals to resolve their disputes.
Why is our government so afraid to admit mistakes and wrongdoing?
Why does it default to bully behavior and military options to solve problems when we have seen them fail over and over?
Groans Quoted Bill Maher in a comment at 12:10 am this morning:
“Forget the Syria debate, we need to debate on why we’re always debating whether to bomb someone,” Maher said. “Because we’re starting to look, not so much like the world’s policeman, but more like George Zimmerman — itching to use force and then pretending it’s because we had no choice.”
As our Founding Fathers said in the Declaration of Independence, we have the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
So does everyone else.