In recent years, I’ve stopped making the traditional New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve reached the age where I’ve mastered proper exercise and diet, the typical resolutions of so many people. I’m more concerned with a collective resolution for the country:
Resolution: A United America for 2021.
What can we each do as individuals to contribute to that national resolution?
We can depoliticize personal friendships. We can put aside the divisive habit that so many of us developed these past few years of categorizing our friends according to political party. Never before in my lifetime have I seen this used as a major criterion for friendships, undermining longstanding relationships.
We can guard against crossing the line between Enlightened Self-Interest and Selfishness. It is human nature to seek that which is most beneficial for one’s own life. As citizens through the power of our vote; as legislators through the power to enact laws; as adjudicators through the power to interpret laws; as the executive through the power to override, we make decisions that not only affect our lives, but the lives of an entire nation of individuals. Let us not seek our personal well being at the expense of another. Let us not use our power to suppress.
We can be mindful to not be motivated by greed. Despite the setbacks of 2020, America is still the land of plenty. There’s enough to go around, and enough innovative individuals who are even now figuring out new and adaptive ways to ensure that everyone has what they need.
We can make a special effort to extend kindness and empathy. Covid-19 has caused much suffering and distress. Whenever possible, let us reach out to those who may be struggling to put food on the table, whose health may be compromised, or have lost a loved one.
We can honor the principle of One Nation. This nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom. Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or Agnostic, we all have a higher philosophical and moral belief system that guides our behavior and the course of our lives. We can be true to our beliefs without imposing them on others. Embracing our uniqueness, we can come together as one nation.
We can heed the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Remember that lesson from our childhood, so profound in its simplicity. If we each put it into practice, it’s the only resolution we would need. I invite you to join with me in reaching beyond our personal resolutions to affirming the collective resolution of a United America for 2021.