Here And Sphere: Our New Year's Greeting
Jan 02, 2018 05:24AM
By Mike Freedberg
May 2018 be a year of progress and peace, of prosperity and fairness, of tolerance and citizens of the world uniting.
May these hopes that we have just asked not be too much to ask. Almost everyone in the world wants to live a life of accomplishment, safety, and love. All of these should befall all of us. Why can’t this take place now ?
As we see it, the biggest obstacle to the happiness of almost all of us is the selfishness of a few. That and their possession of powers which they are willing to abuse for the sake of imposing what THEY want on all the rest of us.
Some of those who have these powers were given them freely in elections or otherwise. Others simply took powers when and as they could. Whichever is the case, the powers possessed by those who have them threaten us all. It’s time that we the vast majority confront abuses of power and defeat their purposes.
I do not speak of our won situation here in the United States. Though the person who now occupies Article 2 of the Constitution’s executive office violates his oath of office every day, as well as the duties imposed on his office by the Constitution, we the people retain full power to end his misrule. One of our hopes for 2018 is that the citizens of this nation will do just that : take possession of the Congress and block 45’s overreach and abuse.
Our hopes for 2018 scope larger than the upcoming Congressional elections. What we see, and want, and hope for, is that everywhere in the world where there is abuse of power those who do the abuse will be ousted from their misdeeds and replaced by the rule of law, of respect for all, of tolerance and liberty so that people can go about their lives freely — free to invent stuff and even to reinvent themselves.
Every single life musty be free to live. For us, the ‘worldwide” means every single person, but singly; every life, but lived one life at a time.
Yesterday we read the story of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager whose parents refused to accept their child as she is, who isolated her from her social circles, who forced her into “conversion therapy,” a kind of mental torture by which the “therapist” pushes the child to hate herself even more than her parents have already made sure of. Alcorn eventually committed suicide and left a note in which she said that “it doesn’t get better… it gets worse.” No child — no person — should ever have to judge their future so darkly. No parent — no person with a power — should ever abuse that power; not on their child, not one anyone.
We probably cannot “fix society,” as Alcorn in her suicide note asked. But we can each of us fix ourselves: one life at a time. That’s all it takes. Each person fixing himself or herself. Perhaps each of us can begin to build our lives on the precept that Rabbi Hillel the Elder (who lived and taught in the generation immediately preceding that of Jesus, who preached much of what Hillel taught) reputedly told a student who came to him 2,000 years ago : ‘whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the whole law, the rest is commentary. Now go forth and study.”
(Mike Freedberg is a veteran political activist and editor of the political blog site Here and Sphere.)