What do we teach our children that is most important? Above all else, what is the bottom most founding principle we want our future raised on? What foundation do you look for in friends that trump the differences you may have? I can sum up my moral base into two words with a four word clarification.
Be Nice: Love, Loyalty, Friendship, and Honor
My moral base is my own, and your morals belong to you. We really have no right to tell each other how to live, but the reality is that we do. We look at this person doing what we wouldn't and we can't figure it out or make it right in our head. And in most cases there is no "right" to it.
There is no way to justify some actions or misdeeds. It is never OK to abuse a child or animal. We do not stand for someone attacking our homes, our family, or our country. There are basic "rules" that we take for granted as being morally based bottom lines. These are steadfast. We look at those who break them as beyond scum. Fathers do not stomp on their 11 week old son's head and not be held responsible in his death. There is no wiggle room in that.
Yet we also have areas that differ because of personal, religious, or experience that teaches us differently. Politics is easy to argue about because we differ so much on those bottom line issues like same sex rights, abortion, and other touchy subjects. It isn't that our morals are less but what was built on them are different so it colors our actions. That allows for some interpretation to our morals and even some corruption of them.
Good Christian folks don't stand at the funerals of American soldiers saying how good it is that they are dead, right? But the folks that do claim to be better then good Christians because though they are working out of that same moral foundation, laid by the Bible, they read it and teach it in away that tells them they are doing the right thing.
So, back to my original question. What is the founding moral base that helps over ride all the learned crap that comes after? What one statement do we want that voice in our head to say when confronted by a moral dilemma? What is that moral trait that trumps most other differences?
Be Nice, Do unto Others, Harm None...... Basically we look for the moral code that looks like our own, that shows the person is looking out for others, not just themselves, and that the people and animals matter. We want to be around people who have the bottom moral code of Be Nice.
The world would be so much better off if that moral code was better enforced and laid more soundly. It is nice to share what you have, to keep your hands to yourself, to show concern, help when you can, and so many other lessons that seem to be getting lost. We would all be better off if the universal truths were strong enough to over come all the layers of political, faith based, crap that gets piled on top of the simple bottom line truth. Be Nice.
We know it's not nice to blame the victim of rape, yet it is done all the time in some cultures. We know it's not nice for a mother to put themselves before the needs of their children, yet we see it all the time. We forget our manners when dealing with the overworked cashier at the store, even though we KNOW it's nicer to say Please and Thank You.
We need to take a long hard look at the way we treat others, the way we want to be treated, and what we are seeing in the children that will one day run the world. Do we want them to be so self absorbed that they forget the moral right and wrongs? Of course not! But what do we show them through our own actions?
Be Nice. Start today.