As I am writing these words, we are in the final days leading up to the 2020 US Presidential election. Like millions of Americans, I have already voted. So even though this message is inspired by the current election, the message transcends this particular election. These words apply to more than this upcoming November 3.
I ask you this important question…..what kind of world do you want to live in? To extend that question….What world do you want your children and grandchildren to live in?
Really think about that. What are the characteristics of that world?
THE WORLD I WANT
Here are some things that I would like to see in my world:
Everybody has access to having their basic needs (food, water, shelter) met.
Everybody has access to a good education.
Everybody has access to either creating their own business or having meaningful employment that pays a decent living wage.
Everybody has the ability to believe what they want about life (including being religious, spiritual, agnostic or atheist) without having other people’s beliefs imposed upon them.
Everybody has access to quality health care that is either free or bears a reasonable cost.
Everybody has the right to make their own decisions about their own body.
Everybody works to maintain the high quality of our planet as a place to live and thrive. This includes ensuring we have adequate clean water, clean air, healthy foods and address the issue of climate change.
Everybody (including through their service with our social institutions such as governments and corporations) serves to treat all people and our planet with dignity and respect.
Corporations serve humanity by not only making a profit for their shareholders but by also serving the greater good for all humanity by being good stewards of our planet. Corporations are truthful in the information they provide to the world.
Governments serve humanity by ensuring our safety, providing necessary services and maintaining our freedoms while placing reasonable limits on corporations and the public so as to ensure the common welfare of all. Government decisions and actions are made for the common good without any undue financial influence. Governments provide honest and accurate information to their citizens.
The laws and justice system work fairly for all individuals. Those individuals who are incarcerated are treated humanely and given the opportunity to develop skills and training to allow their successful reentry into society if appropriate.
Everybody has the freedom to express their creative talents and to enjoy the artistic endeavors of others.
Everybody supports the growth of our scientific understanding and our technological advancements. Appropriate human moral considerations are openly discussed by society as they relate to new technology.
Everyone has the right to enjoy the benefits of the gift of this human existence so long as they cause no harm others.
NOTE: When I say “everybody” in this list, I mean everyone regardless of race, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation or other beliefs or differences…..no exceptions.
So what did I leave off this list? What would you add? Change? Delete? Feel free to comment below.
GOVERN ONTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM GOVERN ONTO YOU
You may say I am a dreamer as you read my list above. You may push back against some of the characteristics of the world I would like to see. You may have ideas of your own for some of the characteristics you would like to see. That’s all fine with me.
I do have one request though as you envision the world you want to live in. Please consider the rights and responsibilities of others in addition to yourself. In other words, live and see a world that goes by the golden rule…..do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
Some of the current difficulties we are experiencing as a United States (and as a world) are based on the erroneous idea that we live in a dog eat dog world…..that it is all about winning at all costs and avoiding losing…..that it is our side (or political party) vs the “other” and if we can’t win, then at least let’s make the others lose.
The United States is strongly divided at this point in its history. The reasons for our current state of polarization are many and varied. The best summary of them that I have read is the book by Ezra Klein entitled Why We’re Polarized. I highly recommend.
The more we govern from a sense of competition and winning at all costs, the more we will stay polarized and continue to fight over the things and make no real progress in creating our best future. It is a recipe for our long term disaster even if we occasionally have short term political successes. We cannot “do onto others as we want to” and create the world we truly want.
At some point, we need to lift our eyes off the smallness and pettiness of winning our personal political desires and instead seek solutions that work for all of us. This includes working towards they type of government that works for everyone. I want to elect leaders who will govern others just as I would have them govern me.
WE VOTE EVERYDAY
So, yes, as we approach this upcoming election day, may we all vote for and elect leaders who will serve the common good and create the world and country that we want and deserve. May we analyze the actions of the politicians and the parties and seek to support those who will work to govern all of us just as I want to be governed. May we heal our divisiveness and come together as a nation.
But even beyond this November 3, let us remember that each day we are “voting”. We vote when we choose one thing over another. We vote when we spend our money. We vote when we treat others as we want to be treated. We vote when our actions serve as a guidepost to others.
Every day, every thought, every word, every deed is a type of vote with our life. How are you voting?
Are you voting to create the world you want to live in? Are you voting to continue to create a world filled with poverty, abuse, racism, income inequality, sexism and unnecessary competition leading to winners and losers?
Start today to vote for the world that works for all of us….and continue voting everyday.