Over the past week, the US Supreme Court has been issuing numerous decisions. They have upheld the Affordable Care Act, declared same sex marriage to be the rule of the land, nixed the EPAs actions on coal, upheld the rights of the Arizona voters to create an independent commission to set the state’s congressional districts, temporarily blocked a Texas law limiting abortions, upheld Oklahoma’s rights to use a lethal drug on death-row inmates as well as other decisions.

How did you react to the various verdicts? If you are like me, then some may have caused you to cheer for their wisdom and “getting it right” while others may have left you scratching your head in wonder.

Most of us have desires and dreams for what this country can be. Most of our agreements or disagreements with the court are based on those dreams, if we are honest with ourselves.

Yes, legal scholars and lawyers (and many reading these words) can argue the “letter of the law” and state with full sincerity that their legal opinions are based on such readings and interpretations of the various statutes. I have been in that position myself of arguing legal points based on statutes, regulations, congressional intent and the like in my time with the Federal government. But I would also argue that many of us who cling to our legal machinations to justify our positions are to a large degree ignoring that it is our vision for the future that drives our real opinions on most of these matters.

What is your “supreme vision” for this country?

Almost all of us have one even if we have never stopped to verbalize it.

Here are some questions to ponder which may help you get clarity on your vision:

What is the true role of government? Where does the power of government originate?

What rights do you believe that each citizen holds? Free speech? Privacy? Right to own firearms? Belief or non-belief in religion? Pursuit of happiness? Love and marry whomever they want? Access to health care? What else?

Do you believe that the government has the right to infringe upon these individual rights? If so, under what circumstances?

Do you believe that one group’s religious beliefs should ever be imposed on everyone through the rule of law? If so, when and why?

What rights do you believe that corporations hold? Do these include the various rights of people or are they different?

Which is more important to you when government is making decisions – the rights of people or the rights of corporations – or is it equal?

Is human life sacred? If so, what does that mean to you? How does your answer relate to your political opinions?

What is your most positive fantasy for what our country looks like and how it operates 20 years from now? How does that vision relate to your political opinions?

What questions would you add to this list? Post a comment with them if you have a suggestion.

To be clear….it is less important to me that we agree on our vision and our related political opinions than it is that we each have at least considered our thoughts around what kind of country we wish to create and how that relates to our political opinions. Sure, like everyone I enjoy it when people and I agree on things. But, I also value more deeply diversity of opinions.

It has been my experience that no one person, no matter how smart they are, has all the best ideas all of the time on every matter. As Will Rogers stated, “we are all ignorant, only on different subjects.” I would rather you and I have healthy and respectful dialogue that opens the door to new information and better decisions, than we all live in a world of either “group think” or continuous disrespectful arguments. We may not always agree, but we as individuals as well as the world and our country will be better off for spending the time and energy on understanding one another and our hopes and dreams.

Mark Gilbert

Ps. By the way, if you are interested, I am very public on my vision for the future. Respectful comments are always welcome.

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Photo credit: Jeff Kubina / Foter / CC BY-SA