We are a nation of individuals who choose to live
together in a shared democracy. We believe "all men are created
equally", and that the "enumeration in the Constitution,
of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others
retained by the people".
Nothing is more important, nor more frustrating,
than tolerating the uniqueness of every individual. Other countries,
with more homogeneous societies, tolerate less diversity in behavior-
often to the detriment of its citizens, and with burdensome limits
on individuality in the name of consensus. We find a way to make
divesity work, and turn it into a source of enduring strength.
The Freedom to Be encompasses all aspects of thought
and behavior that define us as unique individuals. It includes the
Freedom to Believe in God; or not to. The Freedom to Believe in
Astrology divining the course of our lives; or of lives moving to
the beat of Newton's Laws. The Freedom to speak our mind in public,
and to act according to our beliefs. The Freedom to Be wrong. The
Freedom to Belong to groups of our choosing, and the Freedom to
Be left alone. The freedom to keep our thoughts to ourselves; to
be ourselves in that most private of all places, our mind.
Like all core values, the one's scope is constrained
by the other three. We can advocate for war or peace, but if we
destroy property or lives along the way, must be held accountable
for our actions. We can teach ourselves and our children our own
particular version of the truth- but if our children are beaten,
or abused, or make dangerous decisions as a result- the community
can act in the parent's stead.
We are free to be ourselves, but recognize we cannot
survive and prosper without relying on others.
are not free to murder others; nor cause injury or harm though our
direct actions or neglect. But, it is our right as individuals to
harm ourselves - no matter how unwise. We can tattoo our arms, eat
a dangerously fat diet, jump off tall buildings attached to huge rubber
bands, and finally- to take our own lives in a manner and time of
our choosing. Certainly, some religious groups have moral objections
to suicide. Certainly, most insurance policies differentiate their
benefit payouts based on the cause of death. Certainly, our responsibility
to others might impel us to counsel a friend to reconsider, and we
must be accountable if we assist in a death. But in the end, suicide
is the ultimate Freedom and its harm to society does not outweigh
the Freedom to no longer Be.
Reproductive decisions are among the most important
decisions a family, couple or individual can make. There are many
forms of birth control- abstinence, condoms, the rhythm method,
the "pill", and abortion- among
others. Some form of birth control is REQUIRED by all adults- simply
letting nature take its course abdicates our accountability to a
potential new life, and a responsibility to be prepared to raise
them in a healthy and loving environment. While there remains an
ethical question over abortion, most
forms of birth control (in particular condoms and the pill) do not
destroy a fetus. Those forms must be available with little or no
restrictions for adult use. Moral issues, such as a presumption
birth control leads to promiscuity which leads to AIDs, or birth
control encourages a society of single parents, has no statistical
validity and more importantly, interferes with the Freedom to Be.
In particular, government foreign aid restricting
the use of non-abortive birth control cannot be prohibited. Otherwise,
we must be accountable for the deaths and despair caused by the
spread of AIDs, or the birth of children almost certain to die in
horrible conditions, because we let one moral concern lead to an
scarves, crosses and peace signs
and political symbols are powerful reminders of who we are and what
we stand for. In general, we have a freedom to "Be" ourselves,
and to share our beliefs with others through public displays. However,
in some circumstances wearing those symbols can be used to exclude
or harass others. As long as coercion and favoritism is avoided or
punished, then displaying these privates symbols in public are welcomed.
loud snowmobile coursing through a pristine valley is a travesty for
some, or an exhilarating dash to freedom for others. While many see
this expression of individuality as an insult to nature, many others
view a street filled with antiwar protester as a blight on America.
As long as the damage done to the environment is small and recoverable,
reasonable snowmobile access to national parks is consistent with
democratic core values.
Freedom of religion, euthanasia, ..
golden rule - responsibility for others - freedom to be - accountability for actions - four core values - links - contact
Democracy - - www.sharingdemocracy.org