First published on Christmas Day, 2011 by the Downsize DC Foundation.
This is a special message from the Downsize DC Foundation...
Christmas Day, and the whole Holiday Season, is a time when many people sing songs about "peace on Earth, good will to men."
Even for the non-religious, this ideal of Christmas can warm the heart.
But the feeling quickly passes... often as soon as we turn on the news or go on the Internet.
The ill will starts to flow, against...
- Democrats or Republicans
- Muslims or Christians or atheists
- Persons who live "alternative" lifestyles or persons who uphold "traditional" values
Whoever we are, and whatever our values, we often feel under attack. We believe that OTHER PEOPLE – inside and outside our country – want to undermine our values or way of life.
But there's one common element. No matter what "side" we are on, we usually tend to think as AMERICANS. We ask questions like...
- What is America coming to?
- Has America lost its way?
- Is such-and-such good for America?
It is natural to think this way. After all, we are Americans. This is our home. Of course we have an interest in our home.
But, we are human beings first.
When we think of "peace on Earth, good will to men," does this mean peace for just some parts of the planet, or all of it? Is it good will to some people, or to all?
- Are poverty and unemployment important only when Americans suffer?
- Is war tragic only when Americans suffer?
- Do your rights come from your American citizenship, or are they inherent in your humanity – in the humanity of all persons on the planet?
- Is the use of violence and coercion the path to peace and good will?
- Isn't it possible that the people you resent and fear the most, might also have reasons to resent and fear YOU?
- And if resentment and manipulation causes trouble in personal relationships, should we give our consent to States to routinely use coercion and violence?
It seems healthy that we do more than sing about "peace on Earth, good will to men." Perhaps, we should actually give real thought to why we have not yet reached this ideal.
We hope you find these questions helpful.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
The Downsize DC Team