Principle #0 - You Are Important!
Warning: the following post contains no red meat.
Before we get into serious, potentially infuriating (and perhaps more interesting) discussions of philosophy and culture and governance, we need to cover something more important: people. People are actually what this is about. All 332 million Americans - and all 7.8 billion people in the world. What we do with the principles discussed here in the next couple of years will massively impact Americans and, inevitably, the rest of the world.
Will this obscure blog change the world? Probably not. But, we are at a unique point in history ... Certainly unique in the ability to communicate - where any of us can broadcast information and perspectives to the world ... Perhaps unique in that we are so closely split 50/50 that the shift of a relatively small number of people can turn the tide, both in terms of culture and elections ... And the stakes are almost uniquely high - Americans are divided more fundamentally than at any time since the civil war, at least.
Here's the point: we have to do whatever we can to get to the right answer; our future is in the balance. On the one hand, I have no dog in this fight, in that I don't have a vested interest in one side or the other. On the other hand, my children are on the train I am trying to keep from wrecking. This blog is an attempt to prevent that wreck. I don't expect to have wide following, but maybe - just maybe - it will have the right butterfly effect.
Futile or not, we have to try.
So, here we go. As with most stuff which will be on this site, it is not rocket science; rather, it is a short list of things we seem to forget:
- most people on both sides of the current political debate genuinely believe their side is best for people. There are selfish, even evil, individuals in both parties who are trying to manipulate us for their own purposes, but they are not the majority of the voters. Viktor Frankl said there are only two types of people - decent and indecent - and no group consists entirely of either (more on this - and him - in future posts).
- you should enter each day of your life treating everyone with empathy, dignity and respect. That should be obvious - but we don’t do it. Do it. Seriously. Every day. With everyone you come in contact with. Try to find ways to honor and bless people. It will make other people’s lives better. And, it will make your life even more better-er.
- some people will forfeit your respect, especially in this arena. But, give them the benefit of the doubt - and set the bar high (or is it low?). Give them second chances. And maybe third chances. We need to come together more as a nation, not split further apart. You won’t convince anyone of how right you are while you are cursing at them.
- Having said that, the ideas we will discuss here are important. Really fricking important. They are important precisely because they impact those incredibly, incalculably precious things we call people. So, when someone is pushing something damaging to people, especially when it seems to be for selfish reasons, at that point, in that context at a minimum, they have forfeited respect. In that situation, there may be some yelling. And colorful adjectives.