As I see it


We are beginning a new year that should prove to be very active.  Our country is divided, but I don’t believe that this is necessarily a permanent condition.  It seems to me that much of the division and protesting is manufactured and funded by established sectors of the politically elite and the corporately powerful.

There is an old Chinese saying, “Change is chaos.”  So I do expect some chaos, but I also believe if we can only form a consensus of what America is and a moral understanding of how we should live, we can come out of this stronger and better as a country.

I keep going back to a statement made by Benjamin Franklin.

A lady asked him, “What kind of government are we to have?”

Franklin paused and answered “ A republic mam; if you can keep it.”

This may be one of those years in which we will see if we can “keep it.”  All of the founding fathers believed that if America was to survive as a republic, the populace would need a moral consensus.  I actually remember, when I went to grade school, the 10 Commandments were featured in the main hallway of the school.

Today, such an action would cause law suits, protests and shouts of the establishment of religion.  Interestingly, no one discusses the quality of the 10 Commandments.  In truth, they were the founding of the moral consensus that allowed the free society to form.  The republic was a formal contract that limited the power of a central government, but the second half of the story is that the citizens were required to self-control their actions so that the country, as a whole, could be more free from government control.

I had an atheist/agnostic friend of mine say, “I am not a religious person, but I think society would be better off if we did follow the 10 Commandments.”  That statement got me thinking how little we have thought about the importance of these 10 statements.  We keep arguing about church and state but ignore the true value of these thoughts meant to self-regulate a free society.

So let me take it out of the church or religious realm and give you the “10 Suggestions.”      Determine if you think our society would be better off if we tried to follow these “suggestions.”  Could we be a freer and safer society?

Here are my 10 suggestions:

  1. Contemplate the possibility that you are created for a purpose and that there is more to you than your physical self.
  2. Don’t be fooled by the draw of the material world, and realize that we are all mortal. There is a quote by a Zen master Seung Sahn, “Coming empty handed, going empty-handed – that is human.”
  3. Watch what you say, and don’t make your tongue an instrument of pain to the hearts of others or a weapon of division. Speak to heal.
  4. Take at least one day off a week to be with those you love, and contemplate what is important in life.
  5. Honor those who love and sacrifice for you. It could be your parents or a curious blend of family, stepparents or loving friends.
  6. Don’t take the life of another except in self-defense.
  7. Take marriage and commitment seriously, and be honest and true to each other.
  8. Don’t steal from others; not on Wall Street and not on Main Street.
  9. Don’t lie about others, don’t lie in business, don’t lie in politics and don’t lie to your partner.
  10. Don’t always worry what others have or let commercials tell you what you must have to be happy. Remember suggestion No. 2 – we are all borrowing everything material. Concentrate on loving one another and making the world better off when you are gone.


So think about these principles. Do they give Americans the ability to have a moral consensus and live freer, safer and respectful lives. Would our communities be stronger?  Would families be stronger? Would business be more responsible and government more respectful to the rights of its citizens?

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