The following question is one I’ve been struggling with quite a bit lately: Can we run the world on love?
At first glance, it seems like a ridiculous question. Running the world on love just doesn’t seem practical when you first think about it but I think it becomes much less crazy sounding if you break it down, level by level. It may sound ridiculous to some to say the president of the United States should run the country on love. It may also make people feel uncomfortable, or unsafe. But why? Why shouldn’t our domestic and foreign policy decisions be based on doing what’s best for ourselves and each other as human beings?
As you’ve probably figured out by this point in the post (or just by reading the title), I feel as though we (right now I am referring to the United States of America and all of the people living within its borders when I say “we” but I suppose the argument could carry over to most other nations as well) are conducting the totality our political business based on selfish self-interest, greed, and stubborn refusal to compromise. I say “we” are responsible because, like it or not, we are all responsible for electing officials into office and for the policies they enact. Therefore we must take responsibility for those officials. Especially when the officials we elect are neglecting the needs and wants of their constituents.
Selfishness. Greed. Stubbornness. I know very few people (educators, parents, friends, human beings in general) who hope to impart these lessons onto their children. Instead we hope they become altruistic, hard-working, driven human beings. Yet if this is what we expect from our children, why is it okay for us to expect less from those we elect into power? The very people making policies that will affect our little humans, including the policies that affect their ability to have a happy and healthy future, are held to lower standards than our preschoolers themselves. And no one has put them in a time-out yet?
It may be too late for us to change major policies and create cultural shifts that will affect my life and the lives of my parents and grandparents. But I honestly think it’s time we step back and think long and hard about where we hope our country is headed, for the sake of our students and our future citizens. Does the hatred currently filling our political debates really have a place here? Does the complete disregard for the planet, for our neighbors, and for human rights have a place in this country? Does a system based on anything other than love make sense in today’s world, with today’s technology? I don’t think it does.
So, what do I think we should do? We all just need to love each other. I know, my solution is anti-climactic and predictable based on the title of this post. It isn’t complicated or super specific. And I know many of you are thinking “Well, the idea sounds good in theory but in reality it would be a disaster.” But in all seriousness, we (this time referring to the human race as a whole) need to step back and recognize that opinions, ideas, and interest may be different from what we are accustomed to, and we need to respectfully accept these differences. Name-calling has no place next to people’s beliefs. We need to be cognizant of the needs of those around us and how these needs may affect their judgement and decision-making process. And finally, we need to stand for what we believe is the best thing for ourselves and our neighbors. Love is not only found in movies and “relationships” ; we must learn to find love in the world around us, base our decisions on love and kindness for our fellow human beings, and work our hardest to help others find love in their own lives.
We learn to be respectful of differences in Preschool. We learn that we need to share, that we should be nice to our classmates, and that every action we take has a consequence. When did we forget these rules? Denying rights based on your opinion is not ok. Hurting other individuals because they disagree with you is not ok. The things we care most about have changed from toys to homes and many of us have traded our snack packs for food stamps. As adults, I think we often forget that we have more on the line when we deny people what is rightfully theirs than a few tears and hurt feelings. Why shouldn’t we continue to follow the rules we used when making decisions in school. The decisions we make as adults can be life altering. No decision that powerful should be made out of our own self-interests, greed, or because of the political affiliation you hold. Decisions with the power to change someone’s life should be made out of compassion, out of love.
I understand that it would be impossible to develop a policy that helps every person in the country, state, city, or school, even if the policy was created to protect the interests of actual people and not corporations. But when we work to spread love, compassion, empathy, and altruism throughout our systems through the policies we support and enact, we will be able to create systemic change. A change like this will help us put the needs of our country and those who live here before our own personal wants. We CAN change our culture from being fixated on consumption to one centered around collective well-being. We need to start helping each other out, lending a hand, and spreading love rather than hatred. Only then can we once again achieve greatness and prosperity.