Sometimes we get so wrapped up in being defensive, fighting the injustices of the world and against hate, intolerance, lies and misunderstanding, that we lose sight of what we are striving for. So, this is an effort to get back to “for”, and step away from “against”.
First, a summary, then expansion on the ideas… Refocusing on Positivity in Action
Often, we become so engrossed in combating societal challenges like prejudice, misinformation, and intolerance that we lose our guiding vision. This piece is a return to focusing on what we stand for rather than only what we stand against.
Education: The bedrock of society. Genuine education is not just the version of history that flatters victors. It should cultivate critical thinking and promote an understanding of governance, civics, financial literacy, and essential life skills. Remember, not all children receive these lessons at home; the community should fill that gap.
Empathy and Assistance: Everyone faces battles unknown to others. It’s paramount to recognize the struggles of the individual, be it bullying at home or financial duress. Helping others should be our purpose. Our nation’s prosperity should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their birth circumstances.
Interpersonal Dynamics: Understanding and compassion go hand-in-hand. Everyone possesses unique talents and capabilities. We shouldn’t criticize others for not walking our path; instead, assist them in discovering their own.
Media Consumption: Shows like “The Rookie”, “The Equalizer”, and “NCIS Los Angeles” offer valuable insights into contemporary issues.
The Role of Love: Beyond individual actions, our collective purpose should be to leave the world better than we found it. Love in its various forms—towards nature, fellow humans, and universal truths—can guide us there.
Policing: This institution requires transformation. Instead of just enforcing laws, the police should also ensure community well-being. Introduce psychologists for more sensitive situations, ensuring both protection and peace.
Electoral Reform: The two-party system is stifling. Implementing measures like Ranked Choice Voting, transparent voting districts, and term limits can revitalize our democracy.
Respecting Individual Rights: Every person deserves autonomy over their choices, be it reproductive rights or choosing their life partners. Mixing religious beliefs with governance dilutes the essence of a multicultural society.
On Immigration: This nation was built on the backs of immigrants. Demonizing individuals seeking better lives goes against the foundational spirit of the United States.
In conclusion of the summary, our shared goal should be ensuring an inclusive, understanding, and progressive society, where everyone has an equal chance at happiness and success.
How to start this expanded section has been very challenging. Leaving out the ‘what we’re fighting against’ parts has proven just as challenging. How to define yourself without an opposite – how to see light, without darkness?
Let’s begin with education. It has to be the foundation of a civilized society. It has to be honest and centered on critical thinking and empowerment. A well rounded education has to include history – not watered down side of the victor history, but an honest and thorough evaluation of actual events. Civics – everyone needs a comprehensive understanding of how our shared government works, and what freedom, liberty and justice for all truly means – including how to guarantee those gifts for the future – the power and duty of voting. Financial education should start early and be especially important for those who are struggling with poverty – how to manage finances, start saving, banking, retirement planning, avoid poverty traps like payday loans, bank and credit card fees, etc. Another much needed course would be Life Maintenance – normal house maintenance, cleaning, replacing filters, defrosting the freezer, cleaning gutters, mowing the grass, changing light bulbs, doing laundry, car maintenance, changing tires, changing the battery, keeping the car clean, body and health maintenance, brushing teeth, taking showers, exercise, doctor visits, dentist visits – and how to afford them. Yes, these may be things parents teach – but not all parents know these things, and even if they did, not all kids have parents. Read that sentence again. These may be things parents teach – but not all parents know these things, and even if they did, not all kids have parents
Helping other people is our main purpose in life. I want to help people. Problem is, I am kind of anti-social, and I am on the autism spectrum, so my communication ability is decidedly different than most. In other words, I find it hard to get my point across or to grasp the reasoning of neuro-typical individuals. But everyone is struggling with things nobody else understands. The bully is likely being bullied at home. The mean person in the checkout line is struggling to pay their bills. Lots of other such things – which are not excuses to be mean to other people, but reasons are not always excusable. That doesn’t make them any less reasons. I would really like for other people to realize that helping other people is important. All other people. In the United States of America, I firmly believe that the only way to ensure our freedoms, is to make sure that everyone within our borders has the same rights, freedoms and opportunity as the most wealthy and privileged amongst us. I have personally known people who were brilliant, driven and talented – who never got a chance because of the circumstances of their birth. Too poor, too isolated, parents who didn’t know any better, no support system – any or all of those. Life, especially here in the United States of America, should not be so hard, for anyone.
So, if you can’t help people, at the very least don’t hurt them. This doesn’t mean you’ll never hurt someone’s feelings, or some minor inconvenience. “Don’t hurt them” means don’t do actual harm. And that doesn’t mean ‘don’t defend yourself.’ All it means is that you shouldn’t go out of your way to do real, lasting damage to someone else. Any kind of damage – from damaging their self image, hurting them financially, medically, or physically. People are struggling enough already – you should help other people, or at the very least, don’t hurt them. Have a little compassion – for everyone, citizens, immigrants, asylum seekers, cops, poor people, everyone.
I would love for people to understand that not everyone has the same capabilities, same background, same personality, same resources. Give people a break. Some people can not work retail, can’t work in fast food, can’t do construction, can’t do accounting, can’t do mechanics, can’t do computing, can’t do quantum physics. Some people can’t sit for hours, some people can’t stand for hours. We all have different talents and capabilities, we all have different roles we can fill in society. Don’t berate others because they haven’t found their place, and can’t manage to do things the way you did. Maybe try to help them find their talent, help them find what they can do.
I’ve been watching a good bit of TV and there are some shows I would recommend watching – The Rookie, The Equalizer, NCIS Los Angeles – they have all had very good episodes, perhaps in the past, as I am catching up on seasons. There are a lot of things not right in the world today and there are good people trying to make things better. The thing is, nobody can be neutral, you can’t let cruelty pass without trying to do something to alleviate it, you can’t turn your back on those who need help, and you can’t let the truth be obfuscated without trying to reveal it.
I suppose, more than helping other people, I believe that our reason for being here is to leave the world a better place than it was before we got here. The only thing that does that is love. Love the planet, love the animals, love other people, love the Truth, Liberty and Justice for All. I think that those who want to make things better should be the ones in charge. I think that the ones who are looking forward to the future, those that, to take a bit of an old adage, are planting trees, should be in charge. I don’t think those who are planning for the end of the world, anxious, even, to see it arrive, should be the ones running things. Maybe even people who might suspect that they will reincarnate on this planet at some point would be even better – those who are planning to have things be better when they get back the next time.
The police, now there is a subject of contention. Police should be to protect and serve. Now, there is also a law enforcement aspect. And, these days, more and more pieces and parts that police are called on to play in our society. The departments need expansion – yes, defund police militarization, but fund different aspects. First, fund some extra payment (salary) for the service they perform – protect and serve. Next, fund more thorough psychological evaluation of cadets, whatever it takes to decrease the power-hungry and racists that get onto forces. Speaking of psychologists – get some onto the forces to take care of things such as domestic disputes, mental health checks, and other situations where the strong arm of the law wouldn’t be the best thing to handle. There are situations where Law Enforcement is needed – but a lot of encounters where Peacekeeping, or even just a little help (mental, emotional or physical), is needed more. Maybe pair up a Law Enforcement officer with a Peacekeeper.
Elections and voting. The two party stranglehold on our government has to be put to an end. Several of our founders warned of it and hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it has. We need, at the very least, Ranked Choice Voting. Another thing would be some kind of accountability – especially in states where you now get very close votes, like where one gets 48% and the other gets 50% and they go and act like it is a popular vote mandate for them to do anything they want. Any honorable person would take the input of the 48% that voted against them. While we are at it – online voting is much needed. It can be done – with security like Two Factor Authentication, etc, it will be secure – likely more secure than paper or voting machines. Oh, and we need better voting districts – not this gerrymandered mess we have right now, where politicians pick their voters. This will be much easier to remedy with Ranked Choice Voting as well. Oh! And Term limits for congress – no more entrenched power.
I think this has been rambling enough, so I guess that I’ll try to wrap it up. The federal government exists to protect the rights of the individuals. All individuals, whether you agree with them or not. Women should have the right to decide if they want to give birth or not – according to their beliefs, their situation, their doctors. It should NEVER be up to the state they live in, no government involvement, other than to protect their freedoms and rights. If you have a religious objection – let your deity handle it, not our government. Marriage is a civil institution – it was around long before religion got into the mix. It is a covenant between two people who love each other. Sure, there are now civil benefits for getting married – but that doesn’t mean the government should prevent people who love each other from getting those benefits. Religion and government should not mix. Any religion. Get “under god” and “in god we trust” out of our mutual, multicultural government. You have freedom of religion – ensure that everyone else does as well, or you may well lose it. Immigration – this country was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, strengthened by immigrants – from our start in 1776, until 1882, there were pretty much no immigration laws. Stop villainizing people looking for a better life.
Okay… I apparently didn’t wrap up with that one…. I suppose I will just shut up … any questions?