So about a week ago I shared a story from BusinessInsider.com about a Jewish congregation in a Texas town who let a local Muslim congregation use their synagogue for worship services after the Muslims’ mosque had burned down. A person commented the other day on the article,”No good deed goes unpunished. I’d like to hear the end of that story.” I wrote back,”What is that supposed to mean?” I half convinced myself I was asking a genuine question as opposed to the truth. What I was really saying was,”Say that again. I dare you. And say it plainly so the ugliness of your hatred is on full display and I can rip you to shreds in front of everyone for it.” Realizing that this is what I had really meant and that it might quickly lead to a combative, unconstructive conversation on my Facebook wall that I didn’t truly want, I quickly edited my response.
But what to say instead? I suddenly remembered my Fiddler on the Roof. “Yes, but if he did nothing wrong he wouldn’t be in trouble.” “Oh Papa, how can you say that? What wrongs did Joseph do? And Abraham, and Moses? And they had troubles.” I quickly edited my response. “Good deeds shouldn’t be done so we can be rewarded. Good deeds that come from genuine compassion, not a desire for reward, are the best kind, the most pure and selfless. Nearly every major Biblical figure including Jesus was made to suffer for their good deeds. It doesn’t mean they were wrong to do them.” Later on the person responded,”I agree with you AND hope for the best for all concerned.” I said that I agreed and left it at that. I wouldn’t call it a victory exactly, but then I don’t want to beat anyone either.
The facts of everyone’s life and world are different. The facts of life in Dayton, Ohio are different from the facts of life in Miami, Florida. Those differing facts shape differing world views, both valid and applicable to the places from which they came. Somewhere in the middle is a reconciliation of the two views into a governmental philosophy that CAN and NEEDS to work for all Americans. This blog is dedicated to, among other things, finding and elucidating that philosophy for myself and my readers.
The following beliefs and principles are meant to help guide myself in writing and my readers in reading this blog. I will always try to hold myself accountable to these principles and welcome my readers to do the same for me, themselves, and others.
- Finding COMMON GROUND is always more CONSTRUCTIVE than driving a wedge between people.
- People must always follow their CONSCIENCE unless it is at the expense of the people. There is nothing CONSCIENTIOUS about that.
- All government employees, regardless of party, need to be held accountable and held subject to public scrutiny so that they may better serve us. We can only hope to GET more from our public servants if we first EXPECT more from our public servants.
- ACTS OF DEFIANCE that make us FEEL GOOD about ourselves are wonderful, unless making us feel good about ourselves is ALL that they’ve accomplished. BRINGING US TOGETHER and improving the lives of others are our ultimate goals.
- Our COMPASSION for others must be just as RELENTLESS as our pursuit to hold them accountable. “…others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them back, and then you destroy yourself.”-Richard Nixon. The guy knew what he was talking about.
- “LOVING IS LISTENING.”-Hector and the Search for Happiness. Like it or not, a government often reflects its people. If we expect our government to listen to us and care for us like we want and deserve, we must first strive to LISTEN TO EACH OTHER. Only then will we know how to LOVE EACH OTHER AS COUNTRYMEN AND WOMEN. Let’s not wait for another national disaster to COME TOGETHER as a country. LET’S DO IT NOW AND ALWAYS, and let us start by LISTENING TO ONE ANOTHER. “Loving is listening.”