Restoring Amity and Acceptance Among Citizens

To bring greater peace and harmony to our society, we must first acknowledge our belief in the fundamental equality of all citizens as described above.  If we truly believe in this equality, it means that no citizen is any “better than” any other in their worth and value as people.  You cannot be truly equal with someone if you feel either superior or inferior to that person.  If you feel superior, then you will think you “deserve” more than that person, and if you feel inferior to that person, you will resent it until that inequality is redressed.

If you feel like an equal to someone, you will naturally treat that person with respect and courtesy, you will not see him/her as an enemy, and you will not seek to undermine his/her welfare. This practice would do much to improve our relations with each other.

In addition to treating each other at all times as basic equals and with respect and courtesy, to have greater peace and harmony we must care about each other, at least a little!  In so many ways conditions and happenings in society that affect others also affect us, so in caring about others’ needs and feelings, we also address our own issues.  It’s very difficult (though not impossible) to care about the needs and feeling of others who we perceive do not care about us.

When we care about others and treat others well, it induces them to care about us and treat us well.  This reciprocal effect benefits everyone, so in caring about others, you will benefit yourself.

Caring includes having a positive attitude toward others and toward relating with others, feeling warmly toward them, seeing ourselves as basic equals, wanting good things for them, treating them well, and giving them basic acceptance.  We want them to be happy and not to suffer unnecessarily.

If you care about someone, you will not seek to take advantage of him or her, and you will not seek to force him/her to give you things that he/she does not want to give.

Status hierarchies act to induce us to accept our social position, but they act against democracy, since they automatically make people unequal.  To be truly equal with others, we give up our hope to be “better than” them and accept that we are just who we are (just as they are just who they are—no more, no less).

Our true value as human beings is in how we use the life we have and how we help others to live their lives better.  Instead of using winning, income, achievements, etc., as proof that we are valuable and more valuable than some others, equality leads us to start viewing everyone, including ourselves, in terms of what is really important–how we manage our lives and what we give to others.  The essential and most valuable qualities or achievements of each of us are (1) taking good care of ourselves and those dependent on us and (2) doing things that contribute to the welfare of the total group.

Giving someone basic acceptance is simply not rejecting or attacking that person—letting them be (unless they are harming others)

Given our split into basically two equal parties, neither party is ever going to vanquish the other and gain permanent power, so the only reasonable alternative for making things better is for them to join together in working to find the best solutions and compromises for our current problems.

Most human beings feel threatened by and therefore reject people who have different beliefs and views from their own, but this can be overcome by understanding those differences better and gaining more security for yourself in life in general.  (See Encouraging Civil Discourse on Political Issues below.)  Differences do not necessarily mean danger or require defending or distancing.  You can learn to see the good and the bad about a person without condemning that person.

Besides getting to know our supposed enemies and treating everyone with respect, courtesy, and caring, the other key to doing what we can about our political divide is to reassess whether people with opinions different from our own are actually a threat.  If they are no threat, then we disagree with them, but they are not enemies.

Do you truly give your “opponents” and “enemies” the right to their own opinions, or do you want them to “shut up” and just do things your way?  Frankly, to do anything less than respect their right to their own opinion is to threaten our democracy.  If you have to have it your way, then you don’t want a democracy, you want a dictatorship of some kind (on the basis of power or religion or ethnic group, etc.).

In order to care effectively for others and to be able to lessen their suffering, it is important that we use our empathy to understand their feelings and needs. (See my book Live Wisely, Deeply, and Compassionately or my article on empathy on the website under human functioning/coping.)

We each “deserve” all the good things in life that are available to all, including caring and love, and we each can treat others with positive warmth and good wishes that express the caring within us.

We can transcend our tribal instincts if we attend to our attitudes and how we view others.

All people who are disadvantaged or marginalized deserve our caring and action to reduce their suffering.  I will lead an attitude change so that we see everyone as basic equals and equally deserving of respect, courtesy, and caring. I will treat everyone with respect and courtesy. I will try to bring caring for all into our political discussions, and I will ensure (as far as I can) that no government actions occur that inappropriately disadvantage any groups of citizens.

I will encourage attitudes of equality between men and women, and I will highlight the frequent use of violence against women by men so that we can establish a stronger norm against this. 

I will propose that women who have been out of the work force for at least several (perhaps six?) years will be, by law, given compensatory work experience credit by people doing hiring. this credit would be available as well to men who do the primary childrearing.

I will seek ways to model and legitimize for men the new emotional and behavioral roles expected of them and will seek to develop and fund a network across the country of technical schools to make career preparation easier for men (and for the women who might favor those careers).  I will also encourage apprenticeship approaches to hiring by businesses.  I will explore the value it would have to delay the start of school for all boys one year, as has been proposed already, since boys develop somewhat behind girls at that age, and delaying all boys a year might decrease some of the problems of inattention and difficulty with self-control that many boys seem to manifest in the classroom.

I will support activities that enable children to learn about the big world (like living for a summer with a family in another part of the country, summer camps to acquaint children with the rest of the world, etc.) and that help children to have good self-esteem (especially a positive view of themselves and the ability to properly evaluate any criticism or rejection they encounter).  I will also support high school curricula that give training regarding lifetime management of finances, understanding taxes, how to stay healthy, how to have a good marriage, how to raise healthy children, etc.), as well as making good parenting education available in every community.  These courses will include recognition of cultural differences in regard to accomplishing these goals.  I will seek for all our schools to have mandatory education in the principles of citizenship in a democracy.

Non-gender conforming citizens will be treated equally and just as well as any other citizen under my administration—with respect and courtesy and with just as much access to services as anyone else would have.

I invite you to join me and your fellow citizens in a campaign to bring us back to a sense of unity as a people and to ease the burdens of all of us through treating everyone with respect, courtesy, and caring.

Choose compassion and concern over power!

Power rules short-term; love rules long-term.

We get more done if we treat each other with respect and courtesy.

If we understand each other, we can see our similarities better.

We need leaders whose primary interest is what is good for the country, not
promoting any party’s or any individual’s agenda.

Treat everyone with the same respect and courtesy.