George Huber: Grand exclusion or golden rule?
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.
Consider the pursuit of inequality from the lofty luxurious perches of the power brokers, who are busily designing systems of exclusion rather than inclusion -- no nation or culture is immune. Historically, millions have died contesting divisive differences, consequences of exclusion.
This is about how we choose to treat one another. It is personal. No faith is challenged. No deities, dogmas or mythologies are offended.This is neither top down or bottom up but universal. For a troubled and divided world a very ancient antidote may be essential: it is the perennial and globally respected social and behavioral equalizer, commonly referred to as the Golden Rule.
Incubated in synagogues, churches, mosques and temples, or on the paths firmed by secluded holy men and philosophers, some dedicated, others detached, who may love mankind but just can't stand the people. This rectifier and barometer of moral, ethical and social truth remains cherished by most religions and spiritual movements — so it is nationally and culturally ecumenical. Many may regard this as utterly naive or too nebulous or too ambitious a recommendation for our own complex society which we will refer to here simply as Wall Street, Main Street and No Harm Street — three ineluctably converging intersections of capitalism, commerce, and cures. They will represent the superhighways of our culture.
Often political discourse is studded with the clarion call, “We just need to go back …” We are beckoning our institutions, organization, and systems to go back, way back — farther back, perhaps, than we have ever gone before. Nations, cultures, arts and civilizations have disappeared, penetrated by the arrow of time, yet this maxim remains and is understood by all.
We make no apology for conceding an urgent need of drawing on this very ancient and universal statute of wisdom. Our world and our nation are now in dire need of simple sanity. This is a vital assertion: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. We are not calling for committees to convene and hammer out thousands of pages, outlining numerous programs. It represents an age-old premise of social and personal compassion and compatibility that would affirm a commendable unity for a healthy society — before anything else can be done.
Our decades old penchant for facilitating institutional accessibility and harmony on a common standard, equitable for all, has had conversely, a rather disturbing specter of idolizing greed. That is not working. Holy wars — had enough of them yet? Religions, tragically, at least many, have come to embrace a prime directive mandating killing thy neighbor if they seem to disagree on most anything. And regarding the lame lament, “but not ours” may be quickly dispelled by a brief credible excursion into religious history.
As our streets meet, taking from the poor to give to the rich or vice versa confronts us. None dare call it redistribution for fear of the “class warfare” stigma, though a more accurate euphemism for this slippery slope may be hard to pin down. I would drop those unnecessary labels and celebrate citizens working together for the benefit of all. Inclusion not exclusion, celebrating equality rather than inequality.
Citizens United comes to mind as a glowing concept. But that was snatched away by our Supreme Court — seemingly bent on an Orwellian caper. This depicts a country for sale to the highest bidders, where “money is speech” and “corporations are people.” That appears geared more for fashioning a government of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires.
They seemed to prefer the grand exclusion. One person one vote was construed as incompatible.In a democracy all citizens are invited to speak, unsilenced, with their votes. Time to come full circle by doing unto others equally.
Want that shining city on a hill — respected and emulated? A Golden Rule comes much closer than where we appear to be headed.
George Huber lives in Gainesville.