Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Golden Rule

I'm not very religious but I always taught my kids the Golden Rule, and I'm always proud when they make the choice to do unto others as they would wish others to do unto them. I think every "social" political issue we seem to endlessly debate these days can be solved with this simple rule for empathy, kindness and consideration. If that's the kind of world you want to live in. 

For example, I've seen a lot of postings about the recent Supreme Court decisions that clearly are not governed by the Golden Rule. If we all applied the "do unto others" mentality to each situation, I really think we'd all be in agreement. Or at least closer to agreement. This is not about politics. 

1. Everyone wants to marry the person they love regardless of what someone's else's religious beliefs are or how they define traditional marriage. The Golden Rule protects each person's individual rights: the one person's right to marry AND the other person's right to hold opposing religious beliefs and marriage traditions.

2. Everyone wants to have access to the medical care they need regardless of how economically or politically disastrous someone else thinks the current Affordable Care Act legislation might be. I've always believed that if health care were as evolved in the 1700's as education was, the Founding Fathers would have created a comparable health care system to go along with public education. What's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you're sick or dead? 

3. Everyone wants a safe place to live in which they can thrive and grow. Whether it's housing or immigration, we could certainly all benefit from stepping back, taking a deep breath, and applying the Golden Rule to these situations in particular. Shelter is one of our most basic life needs, and the pursuit of a better way of life in another land is largely how our country was populated. 

4. Women want privacy over their reproductive organs. We teach body ownership to children where I work, and I'm appalled every time a law is passed that gives someone else a right to make body ownership decisions for women in this country. It's crazy outrageous. It's 3rd world  oppression like stuff. A women's right to choose is basic Golden Rule and in no way infringes on another person's right to care for children living in a dangerous situation that calls for assistance. There are many, many children in these kinds of situations who need help desperately. Now. 

5. Workers want a living wage; women want equal pay. As human beings, we should really be insisting on the application of the Golden Rule in these situations in particular.  These inequalities have been formed and continue to exist as a result of decisions being made by corporate boards and shareholders as opposed to individual human beings capable of empathy and the application of the Golden Rule. We have too many resources in this country not to ensure that workers are paid a wage that allows them to exist above the poverty line. 

One important thing to keep in mind: living by the Golden Rule often involves not only opening your mind and stepping into someone else's shoes in order to be able to apply the rule, it also involves a willingness to pay to ensure it can become a reality. It's not enough to feel sorry for the marginalized or vocally champion the disenfranchised. You've also got to take your vote of confidence into the voting booth.  Charity costs money. 

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