Americans are very focused on the things that separate us as the presidential election of 2016 approaches. We have party labels and identify ourselves as “followers” or “supporters” of one candidate or another.
Not so long ago the differences between parties and even candidates were strategic and philosophical. You could agree to disagree with a member of a different party or someone sporting a different bumper sticker, because supporting one or the other didn’t define you. That seems to no longer be the case, and it’s making us hate each other.
There are issues where I have opinions that I know are different from others, but I don’t hate others for holding them. In fact, I understand their way of thinking, I just don’t share it. People disagree on how our government can best serve us, and that’s what makes America what it is.
Here are the non-negotiables:
- No human being should have their rights infringed upon because of their skin color, belief or non-belief in any deity, the expression of their romantic love for any consenting adult, their gender, biological or otherwise, their competency at speaking English, their financial resources, their level of formal education or their physical ability. Unalienable human rights are endowed to ALL of us. Whether you like the way we live or not.
- The earth needs to be respected. Pollution – air, water, and land – is fouling up the planet that we live on. I don’t care if you believe in climate change or not. We can NOT back down from polluters. They need to be stopped or nothing else matters.
- Violence should ALWAYS be a last resort. Whether you are protecting your property against a burglar, whether our military is establishing order in a foreign land, whether a law enforcement officer is preventing a crime or detaining a suspect, whether your team wins the championship, whether someone cuts you off in traffic, whether an umpire calls a strike on your child when it was clearly a ball. Hitting, stabbing, kicking, beating, shooting, bombing – should be avoided whenever there is ANY other option.
- Children in the richest country in the world should not go hungry, unsheltered, uneducated, or unprotected from violence. I don’t care if their parents are lazy. I don’t care if their parents are convicted felons. I don’t care if their parents have addictions. I don’t care if their families have abandoned them. I don’t care if their families have work visas. If we have the audacity to call ourselves a civilized society, we protect our young. Just like every other mammal in the animal kingdom. And this same mercy should be extended to children from other countries who need protection and care.
- People of any age need safe housing and nourishing food. We have plenty. Really plenty. There is no reason to keep so much more than we need knowing that some are starving and homeless.
We can argue all day long about how to spend tax money, how much to tax, how to treat our allies, how to treat our enemies, etc, etc. If we do not hold ourselves to some degree of ethics, we have lost all that has ever been good in the United States.