With my thanks, as well as apologies, to Karen Armstrong for stimulating my thoughts about the acts of violence we see in the world. I’m listening to the audio version of her new book “Fields of Blood – Religion and the History of Violence.” I intend to listen to it a second time . . . and more if necessary . . . to fully appreciate how she is connecting the historical dots between religion, politics, imperialism and colonialism, the oppressed and oppressor, and humanity.
I’m convinced that if President Obama and every member of Congress knew and understood how our government’s actions in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel . . . everywhere goddamnit . . . fueled the extremism that we consider so threatening today, our leaders would be making wiser foreign policy decisions.
One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.
What if we conducted our global relationships consistent with the Golden Rule? Could we deflate the violent reactions of extremists, such as Daesh (aka ISIS)? U.S. military leaders (and maybe most Americans) might think this suggestion is naïve and dangerous. Certainly, the weapons manufacturers (aka military industrial complex) would not approve.
Repeating the same failed policies of the past seem much more dangerous to anyone with an ounce of humanity and courage.
If the U.S. government treated its global relationships by following the Golden Rule, we might do the following:
- Realign our budget to reflect our values, not our fears.
- Condemn foreign leaders whose actions and conduct are antithetical to the Golden Rule.
- Establish a compulsory year of humanitarian service for every high school student, either at home or abroad.
- Reform our primary and secondary education curriculum to require mastery of a second language, teaching world history and religions from a more holistic perspective, and developing our critical thinking skills.
- Reforge the military industrial complex into the global compassion complex.