In our moments of greatest darkness and despair, we must find the light. The human desire for love, kindness and respect is universal. Whether your code is religious or secular, let’s recommit to the common good.
Ancient Egyptians believed in the concept of Maat which consists of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice.
The samurai Bushidō code names seven virtues: rectitude, courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor and loyalty.
The seven Christian virtues include prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity.
Buddhism’s four virtues are loving-kindness towards all; the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering; altruistic joy in the accomplishments of a person, oneself or other; and equanimity, accepting both loss and gain, praise and blame, and success and failure.
In the eighth Century, Charlemagne published a list of knightly virtues, including loving your neighbor; assisting the poor and oppressed; healing the sick; doing ill to no man; forgiveness; doing no wrong; not stealing or lying; avoiding anger; and being humble and kind.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Our Declaration of Independence promises that we are all created equal and that we have certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The U.S. Constitution promises freedom of speech, assembly, press and religion; equal protection and due process under the law.
These values stand in sharp contrast to the rancor, division, greed, bias, narcissism, isolationism, lying and bullying that emanate from the White House and right-wing media.
No matter how much anger wells up, we must put down our tweets and guns. Please, think before you call 911 on your neighbor or spew venom at a stranger walking on the street.
We must come together as a community to heal. We must follow doctor’s orders and wear masks until we can defeat the most insidious virus to hit our shores in one hundred years. It is not your individual right to defy those orders; it is your patriotic duty to uphold them.
We must reckon with a reckless economy that has gutted the middle class, bankrupted our farmers, manufacturers and union workers. Profits cannot be put ahead of worker health, clean water, and fair pay. It is not your right to evade taxes; it is your great privilege to pay a fair share so that we don’t put our nation’s security in all of its facets on a credit card for our grandchildren to pay.
We must confront corruption and bring it to account. Public officials must be held to the highest standards. No one is above the law.
We must reckon with the brutal murders of our black brothers and sisters. White, armed cops and militias killing and intimidating peaceful protestors only prove the pain that has been ignored since the beginning of our nation.
We must embrace religious liberty which means liberty for all, not imposing one person’s religious conviction on another.
We must reckon with facts. We are entitled to our opinions, and that right is enshrined in our constitution, but not to our personal science. We must say no more to the lies and histrionics of Tucker Carlson and Breitbart. Media should not give oxygen to mad tweets but should lift up constructive voices.
The Pandora’s box of ugly recrimination has been opened and will not be closed until we have said “Enough!” Let us restore hope, dignity, justice, kindness, and love. Let us heal the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked. Let us inspire each other and the world with what is possible when we act together. Let us act with humility. It is time for a rebirth of values that can make us whole again.