US Congress Oath of Office: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
“…enemies, foreign and domestic…” Who are these “enemies” and how is this phrase applied to the work of our US Representatives?
I believe the first sentence of the oath is clear that Congress supports and defends the Constitution against these “enemies”. It does not say that Congress supports and defends democracy or even an ideology against these “enemies”.
Democracy is defined as control of an organization by the majority of its members.*
An ideology is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.**
A constitution is a body of fundamental principles to which an organization is acknowledged to be governed.*
In the US Constitution the control is defined and enumerated among three distinct branches of government, and ideology is best left to the individual as a right of belief.
Given all the above definitions we can easily see that Congress today is leading from a perspective of CONTROL and IDEOLOGY. This is not their charge!! Congress has moved so far from their Constitutional powers that they have in fact become a domestic enemy. Their efforts to have a political party assume majority powers has made them believe that they can impose their political ideology AND that they have the moral authority to do this. Over the past twenty years I have seen the decay of Congressional leadership…No more compromise or negotiation toward bills that incorporate the best ideas from all sides of an issue. The best ideas are where we achieve the greatest form of diversityand move our country toward progress…A diversity NOT based on gender, race or ethnicity!
I believe Congress’ domestic enemy status has perpetuated the unfortunate circumstance of allowing foreign enemies to invade our soil through a porous border and the relaxed policing standards within our states. One party rule has meant that our Republic is no longer functioning as it should. Our representatives in the Senate and the House must be sent a daily message that We the People will not stand for their tyrannical behavior. Call, email or write your representatives in Washington DC. Tell them that they do not honor their oath by not working across the isle with the minority…This is the way it has been in the past and must continue to be. God help us all!
The Covid 19 pandemic has helped the USA (AKA America) to discover its founding roots, and Liberty is stronger than ever!
I don’t know what some of these governors were thinking when they implemented controls on what could and could not be done to purchase specific items, worship in various socially distant ways, or enjoy the outdoors…But when those thoughts became actual rule, people rightly stood their ground to confront the tyranny.
This is exactly how the fight for civil rights began. Individuals must have dominion over there autonomy otherwise government actions will be encouraged to encroach on their personhood. Our Creator made us whole beings in order to experience a life rich with wonder, joy, risk and pain…This is the Love that is God, not the protection that is the mommy state.
In the USA the government can give certain rights, but the government itself does not have the civil right of a tyrant because our representatives are elected to make sure the balance of power leans on the side of the people, each of whom have the responsibility of their own actions. One, two or thousands of individuals can protest the government when their Constitutional rights are infringed upon, that’s why we have a Constitution to list these rights out specifically!!
This pandemic is quite a bit different than the pandemic of 1918. A century ago we had the radio and the press to inform the masses, yet very little was known about viruses and their transmission. A News of the World report from November 1918 lists the following as recommended precautions against contracting the flu: “Wash inside nose with soap and water each night and morning; force yourself to sneeze night and morning then breath deeply; do not wear a muffler; take sharp walks regularly and walk home from work; eat plenty of porridge.” Hygiene practices were much different with indoor plumbing and sanitation being mostly for the wealthy. And there were far fewer hospitals not to mention life saving technology.
Today’s pandemic is brought to you by the World Health Organization. The WHO’s primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses. This organization has been politicized because of various governmental influences and funding. It is very American to question the authority of the WHO. If America is basing it’s health informatics on information coming from this organization, and this organization recommends tracking the health of EVERYONE on the planet…would we do this? Of course not!! But then again, if a simple majority of our population in America is sufficiently frightened of what “could be” then perhaps the government would implement this authoritarian system, and if some of us “opt out” does this add to the polarization in our country? I think some of our government leaders would just love for this to happen because it would reinforce their need to be in charge and force compliance…Sound familiar? Isn’t this what is currently happening in various communities in regard to covid19?
Here’s a good Jeopardy question: What two words describe outcomes of a purposeful action that are not foreseen? Answer: Unintended consequences.
Unintended consequences are the polar opposite of progress, and many progressive actions lead to unintended consequences. My previous two blogs focused on defining the methods of progress and progressivism by giving historical reference and some results for each method. Both methods ultimately have a humanitarian goal, however only one of them uses higher consciousness to obtain the most compassionate outcome. Progress is achieved by people who are directly impacted by trauma to find healing and practical outcomes (i.e. solutions) for themselves. Progressivism is a forced outcome by “experts” on a broad spectrum of people…Although the intention of a progressive action is perceived by some as good, the outcome is minimally effective and invariably produces a new trauma.
In the USA it is each individual and their liberty that define the nation. Only the individual can feel and know their happiness, and only the individual can feel and know their bondage whether it is self imposed by the mind or forced on them by another. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the responsibility of the individual.
What is an unintended consequence of smoking? You are free to smoke and you may take happiness in it, but if you are addicted to it and are susceptible to physical ailments the unintended consequence could mean chronic health issues or death.
What is an unintended consequence of spending above your means? You can take a loan for a car or home with all the bells and whistles because it is what you have always wanted, but the payments could be a strain on being able to save for the unexpected.
The USA should not be defined by its government or its corporations. Neither of these entities should be trusted to always act in a manner that can ensure a guaranteed positive outcome for people’s best interests. The government’s responsibility is to defend the nation and enact laws. Corporations and businesses help to create wealth for a nation to thrive.
What is an unintended consequence of a corporation employing unqualified or corrupt managers? The corporation has a great product or service and employs many staff who enjoy their jobs and incomes, but risky actions taken by senior management could mean harm to consumers or staff as well as layoffs or closing.
What is an unintended consequence of the government imposing a month long mandatory stay at home order on the vast majority of its population during a pandemic? Certain communities might gain time to prepare for increased hospitalizations of some people, but many more people run the risk of losing their incomes, depression and suicide, rising domestic abuse and the deterioration of individual liberties.
If you take the time to notice them, governments and corporations take progressive actions all the time with perceived moral goals, but the outcomes are not necessarily moral for everyone and inevitably lead to unintended consequences. Only individuals can use their mind and heart to judge what is right and wrong for themselves, form the basis for what is needed, and make progress in society. Governments and corporations are influenced by the individual constituent/consumer need and act in relationship to them, thereby ensuring their welfare (not giving welfare).
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist
“…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty…” – From the Constitution Preamble and the direct responsibility of elected officers.
I am not a big fan of what is currently called “identity politics” which seems to be infiltrating many discussions (political or not) these days. I think the focus on marginalized people only adds to the struggle our country has to free itself from the scourge of “ism’s” that should not define people. I’ve heard it argued that it is because of our whiteness in the United States that people of color have little success in our culture. In this case the “whiteness” means that white people who hold all the privileges unconsciously exclude people of color (POC) in hiring practices and/or promotion choices and if they consciously exclude POC then this practice is biased and racist, and that without exception white people are all racist as well as the U.S. culture itself including its science and curricula.
I have also heard it said that it takes three generations to get past a traumatic experience…This makes some sense. As Erich Fromm puts it, “…something life defining and deeply intimate is over.” The child recognizes how the former generation as shaped their own experiences and how they have been charged through the stories and experiences to carry the trauma into the future. One helps to heal future generations by rising above the remnants of these past injuries. This is the very definition of the word progress. AND I believe this progress works within cultural traumas as well.
Our most recent example of a cultural trauma is 9/11. My generation bore witness to a tragic man made event which killed thousands of people on American soil on September 11, 2001. My children are growing up with the stories about the event which include stories that affected my family who were traveling by plane from Boston on that morning. Now, every time my children travel they must listen to my admonition to be safe and stay aware of their surroundings, look for exits and never let down their guard. They were in elementary school at the time of 9/11 so these stories have been transferred to them in ways that I might not totally comprehend, yet they live their lives with less attachment to this event as will their children who will hopefully not even need to experience the left-over wars against terrorism that still exist today. My grandchildren will live with the televised memorial ceremonies, but they will be far removed from the actual trauma. This progress toward healing is culturally significant and forever part of U.S. history because we must never forget in order to not repeat these actions. Experience is felt on an individual basis…My experience isn’t the same as your experience.
With identity politics the marginalized groups will never experience the progress of healing if their stories are not allowed to have generational closure. When no closure occurs, then Progressivism is allowed to rear its ugly head. Progressivism advocates social reform with goals that are politically motivated. It demands radical change in current cultural systems in order to “improve” society. The people who push for progressive methods care little for historical context. Instead, the leap forward must be made based on current thought, expert advise and/or empathetic emotion.
If we take a look at the historical context of the Emancipation Proclamation, we can learn a lot about progress vs Progressivism:
The Civil War started in 1861 because the Confederate southern slave states did not want to be part of the United States if they could not keep slavery in tact. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that the slaves were finally freed…Many of these freed slaves fought in the Civil War against the Confederacy, and the addition of these men to the Union effort helped to win the Civil War against the Confederacy. There were many proud acts of heroism by Negro soldiers during that time.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress enacted the Freedman’s Bureau and passed the Civil Rights Bill in 1866 after Lincoln’s death because the southern states which were majority Democrat began to pass their own “black codes” to hinder the progress of Negroes in their states. Congress at that time was majority Republican. Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President and now President after Lincoln’s assassination) did not want to force reconstruction of the south because he was determined to respect states’ rights, however the Congress over-rode his veto of The Reconstruction Act of 1867 and both the 14th and 15th Amendments. For ten years Negroes enjoyed the freedoms of all free male citizens and held many state and Congressional leadership roles. During this time the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) targeted many Republicans, whites and blacks who were sympathetic to the reconstruction.
Even though great strides were being made toward civil freedoms at this time, uncontrollable events happened to cause an economic depression during 1874. The financial panic of 1873 was a result of over-expansion in industry and railroads, a drop in European demand for American farm products, and a drop off of European investment. To compound matters, the U.S. Congress (which had long held its Republican majority) was pushed to pass the Compromise of 1876 which resulted in the U.S. federal government pulling the last troops out of the South ending the Reconstruction era. After this happened the southern states reverted many Negro owned lands back to whites, enacted segregation laws and worked to disenfranchise the negro. These regressive conditions would remain in place for a century until the 1965 Civil Rights Movement.
What can we learn from these historical events? Here are my thoughts:
1) The country was divided philosophically. There were slave states where slavery was legal and “free” states where slavery was illegal. Abolition of slavery was being thought about since about 1830, one generation before the Civil War.
2) “Rights” were understood as property rights and state’s rights, therefore the Confederacy of southern states saw Lincoln’s actions as tyrannical. We should keep in mind that at this time “civil rights” were not a concept, for instance during this time women could only own inherited property and their rights were limited to state enacted laws.
3) Slaves were “property”. The Civil War happened because the southern slave states wanted their autonomy as slave states, but Lincoln and the Republican controlled Congress did not want a “divided” country.
4) The Emancipation Proclamation was finally given almost two years after the war started because the Confederacy’s strength needed to be crippled.Freed slaves signed up for the fight against the Confederacy even though they had no guarantee of a sure outcome. Their heroism needs to be recognized in our history books and with more statues since these stories and their context in history help future generations heal from the trauma of slavery.
5) The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was the first federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law without regard to race, color, or previous condition. We must remember that a law does not necessarily change hearts and minds…The southern states still had the autonomy to pass laws to curb the conduct of Negroes therefore Congress passed the 14th amendment (no state shall enact laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizens) and 15th amendment (the right of citizens to vote can not be abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude). Also, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act to enforce compliance by the southern states after the Civil War.
6) The Republican Congress at that time was in a struggle with President Andrew Johnson over Presidential powers…Johnson wanted to be more lenient with Reconstruction. What does his impeachment teach us about the balance of power during that time?
7) Reconstruction enforcement remained for only ten years…Economic uncertainty and politics unfortunately did not allow for the new conditions under military enforcement to remain for longer because if they had remained for at least ten more years, I believe the next generation would have been closer to healing the trauma of slavery. Instead, southern Democrat leaders began to implement “progressive” laws to deal with “improving” society in their states, and the KKK was allowed to run rampant.
8) The actions from 1830 to 1876 were progress for the anti-slavery movement and the future “civil rights” that we think of today…REMEMBER that only white men with property could vote during much of this time AND reason prevailed. “Whiteness” could not necessarily be equated to being “Racist”.
The Preamble ratified June 21, 1788:
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States of America, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...This Preamble sets the tone for progress!
My next blog will focus on the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was made during that time toward civil justice.
To plan for worldly perfection is a web of deceit and the spider who sets this trap believes himself to be like a god.
A web of deceit has been inadvertently spun since our founding which I will date as June 21,1788 when our Constitution was ratified. At that time there were 13 states. Only nine states needed to be on board for ratification…Ammendments to the document continued for several years after the ratification, for instance the Bill of Rights was not ratified until December, 1791.
During ratification the first political parties formed, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Anti-Federalists saw the constitution as a potential threat to personal liberties and opposed its ratification wanting only each state to have sole power. However, there were more Federalists than Anti-Federalists so the Constitution was ultimately ratified. This is not to say that the Anti-Federalists didn’t get some of what they wanted…The Constitution did put in place checks and balances to help prevent central government corruption and tyrannical rule as well as incorporate explicit protections for individual rights.
In today’s polarized political climate we must all remember that perception is only part of the path to truth. Facts still remain. – The Shrew
The Anti-Federalists soon became the Democratic-Republican Party. Founding Fathers such as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson were among them. In the early 1800’s this party split into the Republican Party and the Democratic Party (Federalists such as George Washington, John Adams and Alexander Hamilton ultimately became members of the Democratic Party). Essentially Republicans at this time wanted to reserve more power to state governments unlike the Federalists (later the Democrats) who dominated national government early in our founding and passed laws which taxed land owners to pay for war preparations against the French, increased residency requirements for U.S. Citizenship, deported all male citizens of enemy nations, and limited free speech rights. By 1830 the Federalists had been completely reformed into the Democratic Party which supported slavery and opposed civil rights reforms. You can see the trend early on that neither party was perfect with their understanding of Liberty.
In the mid 1900’s the Democratic Party underwent a dramatic ideological realignment by supporting organized labor, civil rights of minorities and progressive reform. During this time there were a number of other political parties with their own particular ideologies that came and went, many of which had elected representation in Congress, but they would not prove the test of time. Today’s Democratic and Republican Parties bear almost no relationship to their original counterparts.
Through the decades of party representation in the presidential and congressional roles it seems that any time the dominant party was too aggressive with its messaging it left an opening for the opposing party to take control. This “duel” made it more difficult for progressive ideas to cement, but laws and programs which began under the New Deal and civil rights reforms were enacted when both parties were more amenable.
When I compare the ins and outs, ups and downs of our federal system to our state and local governance systems the picture is the same. Any time an extreme example of controlling power is displayed, another election happens to check this power and bring a modicum of balance to controlling forces. Governing systems don’t just create themselves, it is people working together who bring them to being. Ours is the only system which allows for ideas to be tested, thrown out and reinvented. This is what a free republic does. And if the people of this republic are free to also imagine and be inspired by the invisible hand of God at work in their personal lives, then the ups and downs of our system give emotional maturity for the individual to persevere when their wants are not able to balance their needs. We do ourselves a great disservice when we believe that whole populations and desired outcomes can be forcibly perfected. These are the ways of tyrants.
Our Earth and the cosmos are ever changing, and as we know, people are limited when they try to improve upon these changes. To plan for worldly perfection is a web of deceit and the spider who sets this trap believes himself to be like a god. We must not worship at the alter of perfectibility lest we divert our inherent worth to a false master.
Please think about this…The Declaration of Independence was the start of ending slavery on many levels.
First, the colonies needed to recognize that they could live their lives without a king as overseer. They were beginning to live this reality and then with this declaration they made it so.
Next, the Constitution began a system whereby no more slaves would be imported by England. Education for everyone would help inform citizens so that they could vote and govern themselvesproperly…This education would end the tolerance of slavery in the southern states along with a bloody civil war, ultimately to unite the nation and recognizing that “All Men Are Created Equal”. African American men could now be educated, vote and hold elected office.
Then, even though some women could already vote depending on their status and locality, all women were guaranteed the right. Persistence was the key.
And finally, we all look to these two documents to inform and develop increased opportunities to recognize oppression and bring about liberties for all citizens. This process will never be easy, but it is a process…deeper understanding is gained through listening to one another because united we stand, divided we fall.
Are you a slave to divisiveness? Only you can change this if so.
Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.
Balance is implicit in the experience of wholeness for humans. There can be no doubt that male and female are identifiable characteristics for the basis of scientific theory in much of nature. However, science does also identify crucial differences in the natural order of procreation and therefor must consider these differences when recording data for more theoretical analysis. For instance it is a fact that approximately one out of every 2000 human babies are born with ambiguous genitalia. This ambiguity has many variations (visit childrenshospital.org for more information), and I would imagine that each of these babies have incredible challenges ahead in a society.
Beyond science, we humans need a connection to concepts of the human spiritual plain in order to inform us about our deepest desires and higher aspirations…These desires and aspirations are not found in science and therefor we humans must relay them and relate to them through a more metaphysical means. I think a good statement to reflect this is, “Somebody has a plan for you.” I would like to show how this statement can be applied to the 3 core realms of consciousness:
1. State: The United States is currently experiencing a shift in cultural belief systems. No where is this more obvious than with the almost weekly coalition of demonstrators. We might notice that these demonstrations accrue as we get closer to elections. For the most part these demonstrations claim to be representative of a majority of “the people”, however I would classify them simply as public lobbyists – influencers who appeal to the media for attention rather than serve as individuals among a diverse group of thinkers perhaps on a civic board or commission. Personally, I serve on two boards and one commission and I find it to be very rewarding volunteer service in my community.
Singularly focused social action demonstrations are driven by outside agitators who envision a Utopia…”Somebody has a plan for you” in this sense means that the State (or governing authority) should be in charge of organizing all aspects of your life so that you will never want for anything. Balance is not achievable because it is slanted only toward State action.
2. Self: This word is very tricky to understand because what we are really involved with here is the ego. Ego pays little attention to community or spirit. “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “You have a plan for you” and the ego is driven toward that end. Confusion and indecision of your plan can cause tremendous anxiety and/or anguish. Living your personal “truth” is wrapped up with your desires and you believe that no one else in your life can ever know what you are going through. Balance is not achievable because it is focused only toward the one individual.
3. Creation: This is the Devine nature of being. It has no ego and cannot be forced into anything except it’s authentic self. I can experience this authenticity when I paint a picture or design and sew a wedding dress.
Most religions exist because they attempt to piece together an experience to help the human translate what or who the Creator is. In this “piecing together experience” a doctrine is formed in order to allow the ego a way to transform into its authenticity and reach a spiritual plain. The “Somebody has a plan for you” becomes “God has a plan for you” in which God is understood as the Devine or the Creator. In the United States the government has no influence on a religion except where secular laws may be concerned, and a religion has no influence on the government except for how an individual applies a faith based or goodwill approach to government policy and law. Balance is achieved because our Constitution’s Framers were mindful of this necessary inclination toward the Devine.
The Shrew Blog tries to maintain a perspective of balance as it considers the finer implications of social, cultural and theological influences in the U.S. Balance cannot exist without considering the polar opposite acceptance of the Male Principle (Order) since The Shrew admittedly understands more precisely the Female Principle (Chaos). It is my belief that the “Resistance Movement” is based on the Male Principle only because it chooses to use the State as a tyrannical keeper of order (in other words Socialism). The feminist “mask” is pushing for this order too because at its foundation is their equality with men which is far from being a balanced approach. To further complicate matters, the “Resistance Movement” has played on fears of racism, sexism and bias which are connected to the ego of individuals…Just witness how expertly maneuvered the resistance equation is: Complain, impose, blame => Socialist dominance by the few. And what is being resisted? Constitutional Liberty for the whole.
Now more than ever we need the Female Principle identified and honored for what it is, a balancing affect on the “Resistance Movement”.
Today’s social movements are less about changing social attitudes and more about imposing socialism…
Just as I have thought, history is repeating itself. I have been reading the book “A People’s History of the United Sates” by Howard Zinn. Zinn focuses on the importance of social movements throughout U.S. History. In the past few weeks we have witnessed a “social justice” movement bent on undoing the United States Constitution. These social justice warriors are pushing a campaign of federal (and state) tax manipulation and “moral” hysteria focused solely on the needs and wants of victim classes and in so doing are also blurring the important distinctions of what constitutes “equality”. Isn’t this an injustice of personal liberties? I believe that today’s social movements are less about changing social attitudes (as in what Zinn discovered in past historical events while we were testing the limits and inclusiveness of our Constitution) and more about imposing socialism.
In my previous blog I made an observation that I believed civil protections were currently being reframed as “special protections” in the U.S. I think that these special protections seem to be formulated around categories of victim classes who would like the government to ease their burdens and force a group solidarity expression of morality on the whole social sphere. Government programs however rarely solve the issues faced by people who feel victimized whether the need is for universal health insurance, free college tuition, tax subsidized reproduction rights or bias protections of any nature…This is where nonprofit and faith based organizations must step in.
Special protections are worthy of everyone’s attention in a civil society…this keeps us “civilized”. Unfortunately programs cannot be delivered equally in a liberty minded nation because there will always be differences in quality (this is how “equality” loses its steam). And when it comes to laws created for protection, theories on paper rarely reflect actual experience. Civil societies and free nations are two separate concepts: A civil society is a community linked by common interests and collective, mutually beneficial action; A free nation is a country where the government does not control what people say or do for political reasons…having civil societies within a free nation is how we maintain “civility”.
The U.S. is a free nation and within this free nation there are many civil societies. Churches, civic groups and other non-profits like libraries and food pantries all work on behalf of a mission and are inherently concerned with the betterment of the individual. Through member participation and philanthropy their examples of altruism are allowed to resonate into the larger society. An individual in a free nation is able to have the freedom to associate within and among these civil societies and do good works that have a larger impact than one person can usually do on their own.
Care organizations typically have a member funded civil society that works to educate, promote and help individuals who need specific services. Because of this membership funding, the work is done without government intervention unless federal or state laws prohibit the activities…This is important because in a free nation you cannot legislate beliefs or volunteer activity.
Many of today’s politicians are focused on creating programs by using federal (and state) tax dollars. Isn’t it a shame that these monies need to be redirected from individuals who could be investing these funds into local programs on their own. Wouldn’t this make a more direct and meaningful impact in their community? Instead, social justice activists want to discourage individual and corporate ownership of profits and spread these dollars around to government run programs thereby removing the moral obligation of the individual and causing the public to believe that the “collective” is taking care of issues rather than allowing the public to directly participate in the solution…This my friend is socialism in action.
I know that when my discretionary spending is tight I need to make hard decisions about how much I can give to my church, my library, my food pantry and even to pay for a ticket to attend a local fundraiser – all of these are meaningful actions to me because they help my neighbor. Interestingly, my apathy for participating in these civic organization’s increases when I need to work more to afford to pay my taxes rather than have free time for volunteering.
The next time you see a group of sign carrying activists first ask them, “What do you want to see change?” Then ask them, “What can you and I actually do today that is within our own power to help?” And finally form a civic group and get the job done! Now that is real compassion 🙂
My last blog indicated that values are based on what individuals or even a group of individuals hold dear. Consider the Google definition of a value: (1) the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance , worth, or usefulness of something. (2) a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life. As a family counselor once said to my then husband and I when we sought help for discipline struggles that we were having with our children, “You first need to list what your values are before you proceed to implement a strategy to improve behavioral outcomes.” As soon as I implemented this process, the behaviors improved immensely. This would make sense because we all know how critical communication is between individuals. Unstated and implied values leave a vacuum which can result in chaotic outcomes. Stated values remind us about what we hold in importance.
This now leads me to the topic of U.S. cultural values. What are these values? Are they political like conservative or liberal ideas? Are they historical like our holiday observations and memorials? Are they religious beliefs? Consider the 1776 document, the Declaration of Independence, ” We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that amoung these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” I would have to say that this is definitely a document of stated values. This one sentence declares the right of the United States citizenry to remove themselves from tyrannical rule and move toward a system of self rule, a system which had never been implemented before in European Culture. Once Liberty had been gained, the Constitution was enacted in 1789 to implement the rules of government and civil rights. President Lincoln (1861 to 1865) had argued that the Declaration of Independence is a statement of principles through which the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted. I happen to agree…In order to implement a strategy of desired outcome you must first identify your values, just as my family counselor so aptly indicated. This is why Lincoln could justify the abolition of slavery (achieved in 1865) and why women could successfully obtain sufferage (achieved nationally in 1920). The values statement that all men are created equal was successfully argued that it applied to all persons. Men as a pronoun in the context of 1776 was used as a descriptor that could easily be interpreted as “all people” by the time a Liberty minded nation could see the application in a more evolved framework.
I believe that today we live in a country where the ends seemingly justify the means. This results in the chaotic outcomes I indicated earlier and is equivalent to our citizens as well as unnaturalized immigrants trying to childishly manipulate the nation for what they want (for instance undocumented entry into the U.S.; welfare of all kinds handed out in large scope without regard to a state’s ability to maintain budget constraints; marijuana use or sanctuary to illegal immigrants without regard to Congressional action…). Instead, the nation must act like a parent by reinforcing the stated values (the Declaration) and enforcing the rules (laws and the Constitution). Ignorance of the Declaration and the Constitution in our classrooms should not be tolerated!
Even though our Founders were white Anglo-Saxon men, their education concerning governance and phylisophical nuances of human kind produced a value-based means system for our nation to evolve. All elected officials swear an oath to follow the Constitution. Political parties have a tendency to put in place officials that stray from this oath and focus instead on their party platforms (which often reflect constituent beliefs, not values) and lobbying interests (which often reflect business profitability) quite like children manipulating their parents. Core values are discarded in an effort to maintain control.
My religious beliefs are sacred to me as an individual and are part of my happiness and freedom to worship. Because I live in the United States, my religious beliefs should not restrict any one else from their Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness. My desire to be unenrolled from political parties is part of my freedom to interpret the ideas of all Party platforms to be able to vote in an educated and responsible manner. The protections afforded to me by the Constitution allow me to live responsibly amoung others who value these protections as well. And the laws are applied equally to U.S. Citizens, meaning that no one individual is above these laws.
Our nation is by no means perfect. Freedom is very hard to keep. People’s tendency to control outcomes is an unfortunate by-product of Liberty and we need constant, consistent reminders of our core cultural values…Values born on 7/4/1776!