It is said that the question of morality can be contained in two statements. First, how do we want to treated in any given situation, and two, how do we act? I must agree that the logic of those statements, in the most concise manner, does seem to define well the word “morality” in a universally correct manner.
So let’s take a look at some recent incidences in the terms of morality, and how we, as a collective, have reacted. Let’s start the crash of 2008. At first glance, it looked like just the money guys were effected and from a moral point of view we said, “well that’s the karma for greed.”
Then we began to appreciate the huge amount of wealth that had been extracted from us as a price for that greed. First, there were the retirees who got their first quarterly statement from their 401ks and retirement plans, most lost 30-40%, some even more. How did we as a moral collective react? And why didn’t we? We did react, but by being deceived to “look over there” and we created the Tea Party and over-reacted in a more immoral way. We didn’t demand prosecution of the perpetrators of the scam or more governmental regulations, no we did EXACTLY the opposite, demanding less government and no one pursued those inside and outside the government who were responsible for those reckless acts that destroyed our economy.
Then came the “Housing Crisis”, which was nothing other than a fleecing of a fledgling middle class. How did we act as a moral collective? We did nothing. People were thrown to the street world-wide, not just in the US, and we did nothing as a collective, except feel sorry for “those folks”.
Then came the attack on sovereign funds, in Europe and the US. We watched as people’s retirement funds disappeared, their jobs vanished, just to pay “the bankers”. What did we, and are we doing as a moral collective? Nothing, after all these are financial things between bankers and government officials, right? We watch as police and military battle their own citizens and we are not morally outraged? Who are we? Are we not moved as a collective to people emolliating themselves in Tibet? Are we not morally outraged as a tyrant such as Assad methodically murders his own people? Are our hearts and brains shut down to such a degree that we are NOT moved to action by a 77 year man in Greece committing suicide on the capital steps because he cannot bring himself to rustle through garbage to find something to eat? I cannot bring myself to believe we are who we appear to be at this moment.
So here we are, and as we speak, the assault on personal liberties, union rights, women’s rights, hell, even the right to be democratically represented in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, continues unabated. Who are we and what have we morally become?
Most of us watch this on TV unfolding right before our eyes and somehow think it is only happening on TV. It is not, it is happening to US! This is something that is not just political, this is something that transcends politics. Those of us in the world, who live in free societies, must understand these actions strike at the core of our beliefs. Where is the moral outrage?
If we, and I mean each of us individually ,when we look in the mirror, act, how do we act from a moral perspective? It is not about insurrection, revolution, or anger. We saw that hasn’t really accomplished much in Egypt, or through the efforts of the Occupy movements, or the uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, or the riots in Greece, Italy, Spain, France, UK, and the US. We must act to re-establish a moral base in our institutions of government, finance, and education. I would suggest we all start by going to the closest mirror and take the following pledge.
1). I am a moral person.
2). I cherish freedom and democracy for all peoples.
3). I have a responsibility to everyone to protect our freedoms and dignities.
4). I will act to vote in an informed moral manner.
5). I, personally, will demand of my elected officials, at all levels, to act in a manner consistent with morality.
6). I will do this every day and I will take this pledge every day to remind me of the power of who I am..A Human Being.
If we were all to act collectively, in this manner, this world would change overnight, literally.
The 19th Century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant wrote:
So once again, How do you act?