Ann Ross: Values attacked
January 26, 2013
Lest we forget, cherished values change with interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court, as one deciding vote changes laws. Twenty-seven times the Constitution has been amended because of changing of the mind. We fought for independence, a mob action, and our forefathers labored to write the Constitution. This provided for majority rule and equality rather than forced behavior.
A mob is an excitable crowd. The Civil War changed the tradition and values of some, when the majority won a fierce battle. The loss, by one value group, gave rise to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, but only after brave women endured abusive treatment. For years, we have been ruled by dictators, clergy, religion and birth right. Mob action may be required to change icon value worship by a select minority. The 18th Amendment prohibited alcohol, resulting in violent mob takeover. The 21st Amendment allowed change.
Following the party mob, rather than considering national welfare by compromise, accounts for the Washington stalemate. Even with a variety of religions and backgrounds, our founding fathers came together to produce great documents. The oath of office is required for all elected representatives. They affirm their support of the Constitution, but no religious test is required. Are we able to find a philosophy, a democracy, allowing for human dignity, individual freedom without conflict and maltreatment?
Issues for debate by opposing groups, mobs and institutions include: foreign policy, violence against women and children, forced pregnancy, gay rights, drug use, federal spending, job creation and gun control. Should any of these issues cause you concern, then get a mob together and have mob democracy. Perhaps we are in a civil war of a different kind allowing for human rights and responsibility. Organized religion is declining, replaced by what is called dignity, spirituality and kindness. Reasons given are: hypocrisy, bureaucracy, money, power, control and politics. Organized religions, which pit one group against another, produce conflict and forget our oneness. "In God we trust" and "so help me God" are phrases we hear and read. Differences in belief about "God"give rise to manmade splinter groups. Should we challenge what some think and have written, and what others have rewritten?
Recently, I visited several Islamic countries. Their religion is based on a man-, or prophet-, made truth, also true in other religions. With tunnel vision, we judge right or wrong, using only our values. Government regulations and religious doctrines can and do overshadow individual responsibility by promising rewards. Yes, too simple, as greed wears many faces, sliding in, trying to control in a plethora of places. Most religions have ancient standards for regulation of murder, theft, adultery, conspiracy and country harm for good reasons. Certain groups believe so strongly that their religion or lifestyle is correct that it makes for a very difficult situation. Torture and long-term jail sentences for minor offenses, however, is counterproductive. Ethics can be taught without controls or promises by explaining choices. The Golden Rule explains self-choice: "Treat others as you wish to be treated." In kindergarten, or before, many learned a behavior needed to get along with others, such as "don't push" and "share." Some individuals will not learn or cannot, thus consequences set in. Parents and others are the first line of defense for recognizing potential problems. Are we our brother's keeper? Yes, and by doing that we can help promote a productive, healthy society.
We need to change our thinking about our world. Relationships help protect. Learning, caring, talking, compromise, respect and teaching will benefit all with less conflict. Remembering the past allows for a better result. Democracy is not easy, but it is resilient.
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"Let us not seek the Republican or Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future," John F. Kennedy once wisely said.