“It’s my choice.”
“It’s my right.”
“It’s my body.”
“I deserve it.”
“I earned it.”
It’s a presidential election year in the United States and, like no other time, our individual wants, needs and beliefs get challenged.
Log onto Facebook and see your friends proclaim how the Republican Party is trying to set up a monarchy which they can use to Lord over the impoverished multitudes.
Listen to the radio and hear popular show hosts explain why the policies of the godless Democrats will lead to us back to the days of the Nazi’s.
Turn the TV on at any hour and hear how, government bailouts saved the world and, if you don’t believe it, you’re a fool.
And we all know that the Libertarians are pot-smoking, gun-wielding anarchists. (Not sure how pot-smokers have the ambition to wield their guns in the name of anarchy, but maybe that’s a post for another day.)
But there is a common theme, suggested by the phrases above.
Each candidate is trying to convince you that he or she is the ONE person who can protect YOUR rights.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for personal liberty. I think that it is the single greatest gift our nation has to offer. I think that it is beautiful and Good that people are free to worship as they choose, speak their mind, and blog about all of it without a moment’s fear of the Secret Police showing up on their doorstep to cart their family away.
But here’s the thing about personal rights, personal choice, and all that jazz:
It really doesn’t exist.
What I mean is, you aren’t in a bubble. Your choices about speech, sexuality, religious expression, education, food, television programming….. it ALL affects the world in some way. It’s never JUST about you.
As my 7-year-old so artfully expressed in the picture, above, “It’s All Connected.”
If you choose to become a well-educated healer, I will benefit from that, should I ever become ill.
If you choose to be a criminal, a portion of my hard-earned wages must go to pay police to protect the population from you.
If you choose to plant English Ivy in your yard a small amount of the pollutants in my air will be removed.
If you choose to give to the local food pantry a child may have a fuller belly tomorrow at school, allowing her to concentrate and she may grow up to be a writer that inspires millions.
If you choose to speak harshly to your husband this morning, putting him in a bad mood, he may choose, in turn to vent that anger on a fellow driver with rude gestures. That driver may be angered, and go to work and snap at his receptionist who may, in turn be short with the customers. They will find somewhere else to do business, perhaps in another town, causing the eventual collapse of your city’s entire economic structure.
OK. That might be a stretch.
But you get the idea.
EVERY choice we make causes a ripple that WILL touch someone or something else.
No matter how much legislation there is, it will never change that fact. It is a law that has been written by an authority MUCH higher than they president of the United States of America!
Do I believe in your RIGHT to speak your mind?
Do I believe it IS right to always speak your mind? Definitely not. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11)
Do I believe in your RIGHT to join a kool-aid drinking cult?
Do I believe it IS right to do so?
Everyone knows that kool-aid is bad for you.
Regardless of who the president is, we need to become more responsible, as a people, for the personal decisions we make each day.
We need to be aware of how our words and actions and, yes, even our very thoughts, affect others in both positive and negative ways.
We need to know, in our very heart of hearts, at every single moment, that it is ALL connected.
No amount of laws – conservative, liberal, or perfectly moderate – will ever make the world a better place until each one of us can look at our neighbor (and at ourselves!) and say:
You are important. You are special. You are powerful. You are wonderful. You are part of a Whole that is truly extraordinary.
“Anyone who thinks he’s too small to make a difference has never spent the night with a mosquito.” –African proverb.