It Depends On What You Call It!
One of the taglines we have had at the Purple Tree since its beginning is “Less About Me, More About We.” Already over 10 years ago we had a significant sense that the “we” that is required for a democracy to exist had been demonized and the very foundations of our country were at risk. I say that because the essence of the “American Dream” is the shared perspective that everyone in our country has agreed to the kind of relationships with others that adhered to the ideals that are greater than us. We agreed that the truths embodied in those ideals were so “self-evident” (The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776) that they would comprise the foundation of our journey together “toward a more perfect union.” Of course, it was understood that there would always be some respectful disagreements on the journey. Because of that, we also agreed that the responsibility and authority to govern and arbitrate such disagreements would come from “we the people.”
Unfortunately, in my judgment, we have come to the moment when the “we” of our society is really no longer a “we.” “We” no longer seem to share the basic values and truths to which we subscribed in the Declaration of Independence nor in the Constitution which followed. When “we” no longer share these basic truths, “we” no longer have legitimate authority and nothing to unify us and help us to maintain our continuing association in pursuit of a dream no longer shared.
While this topic deserves a long treatise, I would suggest that how we name and define important cultural realities is a part of the problem. So as a beginning in reminding ourselves that “we the people” have agreed that pursuing life, liberty, and happiness are “self-evident,” here are some suggested name changes that might unite us:
Regulations: This has become a negative and divisive term…so how about protections instead? That is, of course, the purpose of having regulations – to protect us from harmful things.
Taxes: Another negative and divisive term. So how about civic contributions since that is what we have agreed to do…join together to collectively pay for services that benefit us all.
Government: Really? Why has this term become a negative? How about civic service since we elect citizens from among us to represent us in working toward fulfilling our agreed-upon “self-evident” values.
Well, enough for this blog. How about just committing to memory the phrase “less about me, more about we” and renewing your efforts to live by that motto? Thanks, fellow-citizen.