Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Teach Your Children Well

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young said it first back in 1970. But the message is just as important, if not more so, now. Is there a greater responsibility in this world than to teach our children well? To teach them how to care for each other, for themselves, for this planet?

I've been thinking about all of this a lot lately in light of the political vitriol that is surrounding all of us these days during the Presidential Primary Election. Anyone who knows me personally knows I am very passionate about the things I believe in most strongly. I don't hesitate to speak up and say how I feel. And lately, I have been utterly disgusted by the display of inhumanity that has been the GOP primary season. Yes, I am a Democrat. But, I am also an American. And regardless of one's political affiliation I think it is obvious that the hatred, dishonesty, and bigotry that is on display in recent months is unacceptable and repulsive. And yet, apparently its not so obvious because he who does not deserve to be named is getting more and more votes.

4 years ago, on election day, when my oldest son was not yet 3 and my middle son was not yet born I wrote this letter to my children. At the time I felt so positive and uplifted about our Country and my State. It seemed likely that we would re-elect a man who I believe is one of the best, most human, intelligent, and honest Presidents our nation will ever see. It was also looking as if Maryland would become the first State to legalize gay marriage by a vote of the people. Both those things came true. Barack Obama was overwhelmingly reelected and the people of Maryland voted to legalize Gay Marriage. I could not have been more proud. But I wrote this letter before I knew these results. In this letter spoke to my children about the importance of election day. I spoke not of democrats or republicans. I didn't even mention who I was voting for. But I spoke of voting for the people and the issues that will do the most good for the most people in our nation and world

This is something I still strongly believe needs to be behind every person's decision when they vote. I may have a difficult time understanding "the other side" sometimes, but if you can convince me that you truly believe your favorite politician's efforts have at heart, doing the most good for the most people, then you have my ear. I understand that there can be different approaches to the same goal. And so, I can respect and value any person or politician who truly seeks to improve the state of being for as many people as possible. Not just the wealthy. Not just men. Not just white people. But, all people. At the same time, I understand that we can't please everyone all the time. That's why I am OK with taxing the wealthy to care for the poor. I'm OK with taking away guns from those with the potential for violence in order to protect the majority of people (hell, I'm OK with taking away everyone's guns to protect all people....but, I know that's unlikely to happen). I understand that sometimes, in very rare circumstances the lives of our brave soldiers must be sacrificed in order to bring safety to a majority of people. And because our leaders have to make decisions about such profound issues like the life of a fellow human being, they must have goodness at their core. I'm not saying any leader will ever please everyone all the time. I'm not saying that mistakes won't be made. But in order to earn my vote, you must convince me that your underlying and overarching goal in all decisions you make has at its heart the well being of the majority of humanity.

And while I ardently disagree with the approach of the vast majority of Republicans in achieving this goal of the most good for the most people, I do believe that there are GOP politicians who share this same goal. But this year? This election season? Nope. Not one. I do not believe for a second that a single person running to be the leader of our great Nation from the Republican party has this as their goal.

One cannot want to build a wall, or prevent all Muslims from entering the United States, or limit a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, or support at all costs an organization whose sole goal is to sell as many guns as possible, and still convince me that you have the best interests of the people you will serve at heart.

As Americans we have a responsibility  to elect a leader who will support us in teaching our children well. Someone who will support our efforts to teach our children what it means to be kind, empathetic, and honest. Someone who our children can look up to as an example of good in the world. Someone who, 10 years down the line you will be proud to tell your children, "Yes! I voted for him/her!" Someone who might make mistakes, who may have faltered at times, but who genuinely sought to be kind to the people closest to them, and to those they never met.

There is no greater resource in achieving greatness for our communities, our nation, our world, than our children. If we cannot with confidence lead our children in the direction of kindness, compassion, and honesty, then we have nothing as a society to hope for.

So, I implore you. I beg you, please, when you go to the polls this primary season and in the general election, vote for the individual who will support you in teaching your children what it means to be a good citizen of this earth.

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