The Cultural Vacuum

Author and co-founder of The International Congress of Youth Voices Dave Eggers writes in today’s New York Times of the present void of culture at the White House. He concludes his observations with these words: “with art comes empathy. It allows us to look through someone else’s eyes and know their strivings and struggles. It expands the moral imagination and makes it impossible to accept the dehumanization of others.  When we are without art, we are a diminished people–myopic, unlearned and cruel.”

We DO Care.

On June 22, the day she traveled to view a shelter for immigrant children in Texas, Melania Trump was photographed in a jacket that read in capital letters “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”

Those of us who are bewildered or angered by the message on Mrs. Trump’s jacket have some options.

For those of us who try and live by a “love our neighbor” or golden rule guideline of “doing unto others as we would have them do to us,” this means channeling our concern and outrage in a constructive and civil manner.

We need to focus on building compassionate community.

Here’s how:

  1. Find out the facts and discern the implications those facts hold for the outcomes we seek.
  2. Speak out on behalf of those outcomes with our voices and our votes.

Here are worthy outcomes that should matter to us all:

  1. A habitable planet
  2. Health care access
  3. Quality education
  4. Public safety
  5. Economic well-being
  6. Freedom
  7. Enrichment of experience
  8. Problem-solving capacity
  9. Hospitality
  10. Kindness

Here are a few current amplifications about a few of the outcomes we should be seeking.

  1. Public safety: requires realistic laws that are humane, consistent administration of those laws, and practices that promote community caring, versus driving people into the shadows where bad things happen.
  2. Economic well-being: too many people can’t afford decent, much less desirable, shelter or other basics and most don’t have enough money for a $500 emergency.
  3. Freedom: when we have a President who regularly scapegoats an entire race, a religious practice, a political party, a nation, or a group within his own party that disagrees with him, our freedom is being threatened.

We need to speak out against wasting resources. Wasting energy on trying to bring back coal, failing to use the power of collaboration when working with world leaders, undermining the healthcare network to take aim at the other political party while ignoring the need to make accessible healthcare for all people a reality, failing to fund the education of our young, disregarding the plight of our aging poor, calling all regulation bad when facts prove that some regulation is vital to our future  — all  of these actions are harmful and expensive.

People in positions of influence have the opportunity to bring people into positive political action.  The Postcard Storm provides bipartisan guidelines for political action to people in  that seek healthy, caring community life.  If you would like for me to help with a plan for your group, let’s talk.

Dear People in Political Power,

I believe we need a better way of treating people seeking asylum from dangers in their homeland.  Imprisoning men and women seeking safety because they have crossed our border without permission is bad enough in itself. Compounding that meanness by separating those traveling as families  from their children is awful behavior unbecoming to any country, much less the United States of America. We forget our original greatness was founded by immigrants pursuing a better life in the face of life-straining obstacles.  This awful behavior of imprisonment and separation on the part of the party in power must change; we are losing our soul as a country unless we improve our treatment of people, regardless of what their documented status may be. We should have zero tolerance for unkindness.  There are better ways to solve problems and manage dilemmas than throwing people in prison because they are seeking safety and taking away their children in the process.