In this final submission of a Holiday Trinity, I share my wish list for Texas and all of us. In parts one and two, I threw huge props to the people in Texas who help others, who support individual rights, and democracy. As we close the year, I offer a list that reads like affirmations toward gaining new respect for humanity and human decency. The Yin and Yang, the opposing forces of the Universe, are required for balance. In other words, without the negatives there would be no positives. Negativity has tipped the scales, lately. I believe it is time to intentionally focus on positives. No saccharine, just good and decent stuff. It’s time to don the rose-colored glasses and remember how to dream of a better world.
There is a Cherokee legend about an elderly brave telling his grandson about life.
“Son,” he says, “Within all of us there is a battle of two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
“The same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too,” explained the wise Cherokee elder.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”
Feeding the Good Wolf
If There Must Be Hate, Let’s Hate the Tools of Hatred
What a great world it would be if real justice existed, humans were honest, and ignorant bigots were powerless and silenced. I’ve often said to friends that if we treated bigoted and racist acts like the true crimes against humanity they are, we’d increase the prison population while introducing accountability for those causing human harm. Courtroom antics and legal double-talk stand in the way of holding the guilty accountable in cases of harassment and various types of discrimination and injustice. Imagine a world of committed humanitarians creating and enforcing laws.
Move Our Politics from Personalities to Personal Issues
Let’s learn to recognize and value the difference between posturing and action. Look up the voting records of elected officials, seek balanced information by researching opposing views. It’s time for voters to stop looking for saviors and to judge elected officials by their deeds. What they do unto others, they can also do to you. A morally bankrupt candidate will never be the best choice for elected office, the supreme court, dog catcher, or any position of public trust.
New Rule: A politician willing to harm children is an indecent beast, unworthy of votes. Maybe the litmus tests should be can I trust this candidate around children or pets? And if they’ve held elected office; what is their voting record on issues impacting my life?
Clean Air and Water
Nearly half of the rivers and streams across the U.S. are considered too polluted to meet quality standards for swimming, recreation, aquatic life, fish consumption or as drinking water sources. This is the result of water quality testing in all 50 states by the non-partisan, nonprofit organization, Environmental Integrity Project, (EIP). More than 700,000 miles of waterways, about 51 percent of assessed river and stream miles, are polluted. Add to that another 55 percent of lake acres and 26 percent of estuary miles.
According to Pure Earth, a leading environmental health nonprofit, pollution is responsible for about 40% of death from lung cancer, 25% of stroke deaths, 22% of all cardiovascular disease, and 53% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The number of Americans exposed to unhealthy spikes in air pollution has been constantly rising with a big increase from 2018 to 2020.
As the previous generation to mine would say, “we can put a man on the moon, but…” But we can’t clean up our environment? Maybe one day our species will place human safety and health above profits. Let’s hope.
Clean Food (in every pot)
The American food supply is likely riddled with far more dangerous toxins than the average consumer would anticipate. That was included in testimony to Subcommittees on Environment and Research and Technology by Harvard professor, Elsie Sunderland.
By design, most U.S. Farm Bill crop subsidies go to the major commodity crops of corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice. (And most of those subsidies go to Texas landowners). But the problem is these crops are not grown for human consumption, but as feed for animals to make processed foods…some of the unhealthiest foods available in our markets.
The founders of Forks Over Knives, the whole foods, plant-based eating advocates advise: If you are serious about avoiding heart attacks and cancer, you’ll want to avoid 80 to 85 percent of shelf space in the average American supermarket.
Years ago, I spent five days at what used to be called a fat farm. They taught us to read food labels and the mantra was if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. That philosophy has expanded nowadays to if it was concocted in a laboratory and not grown from trees or the ground, don’t eat it. My wish is that we (our government and our society) will again define food in that way, and treat chemically-laced lab creations as non-foods.
A Society Where All Basic Needs are Met
What would our country look like if everyone had basic shelter, clean food, healthcare, and a way to make a living? There would be no populations to inaccurately criticize as drains on our system. There would be no reason to steal to eat. No one would have to die because they couldn’t afford quality healthcare. This world would include opportunities to increase abundance beyond the basics. It would be left up to individuals to decide how much more they wanted to work for and add to their basic supply.
While creating my wish list, I realized it’s hardly new. It represents aspirational affirmation in a world of institutional evil. You might remember these words. I try not to forget them.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
Honoring the Balance
The deplorables of every era show us the underbelly of humankind. They are the manifestations of anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. Their existence inspires us to hold on to the good wolf in us; joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
As we balance out the negativity, I believe in the old-school process of making a list of good, checking it twice, and dreaming of a better world. It’s a place to start…