Monday, January 31, 2011

Seek first to understand

On a recent drive I held a conversation with an imaginary companion who was scornful of liberals.  I explained my position.  Then I realized I had failed to observe the third habit of Highly Effective People - Seek first to understand-- and I really should listen to the other person.  Since that person was imaginary, that's as far as it went.

Not really.

I realized that my articulating my views, I was seeking first to understand--to understand myself.  Have you asked yourself why you believe what you believe?  That's what I did, and below I share.


Thank you, planet!  Thanks, nation, society, and community!
I didn't ask to be born, nor did I really choose it.  Yet, here I am. I KNOW I have taken more from the planet (and my community and etc) than I have given back.   I eat food and return mere compost.  I use far more resources than most other living things on the planet, because I am human.  And since I'm American (again, not by choice but by fate), I use far more resources than most of the planet's other people. 

The planet and society benefit and nurture me.  So--I owe.  To say thank you, I must give back. 

Government must stick up for the little guy -- and girl.
Unless a higher power intervenes, the big will prevail over the little, the strong over the weak, the rich over the poor.  Predators eat prey that is smaller than they are.  Bullies are the big kids.  Sports teams choose the biggest players.  In many sports, we match contestants for size because it's such an obvious advantage.  A bigger army usually vanquishes the smaller.  Etc.

It's why the U.S. has a Senate, where a Senator from a tiny state has the same power as a Senator from a big state. 

Now our government is of the people, for the people, and by the people.  The government's role is to protect ALL the people, weak and strong, big and little, rich and poor.  To do this the government must make sure the strong don't prevail over the weak. 

That's the basis of labor laws.  Employers, you must pay workers.  You cannot work them too many hours.  You cannot use slaves.  You cannot use children.  You must provide a safe workplace.  Etc.  

Could a business make more money if it didn't have to follow these rules?  Certainly!  

Children are weak, small, and powerless.  So our government makes laws and regulations to protect them.

Our environment and the living things that live --but don't vote, or contribute to electoral campaigns--are weak too.  They cannot fight back if some pollutes or abuses.  Government must protect these too. 

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

We all want to live in a safe community with clean air and water, pretty open spaces, plenty of beauty.  Unbridled industry doesn't create these.  A government protecting the common good does.

These thoughts are not fully refined,   But what I did on that trip was seek first to understand--myself.  Now I'd like to hear from conservatives and understand what underlies their beliefs.

Peace, y'all

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