By: Dan Genduso
We are a continuation of our ancestors, shaped by the memories of our parents and those before them from things that we may never know…things that may not be relevant in our lifetime ahead…things that we may not want to pre-determine who we are as individuals…things we may prefer stay in the past. Not because the memories aren’t important, but rather because the past should be used for learning…the past should be used as a point of reference to help us grow…the past should be used as a factor to consider when making a decision…the past should be used to avoid circling back to obstacles we have spent lifetimes trying to overcome. Regardless of how the past is used, we have the power to determine if it is a part of current day or future day reality. If we choose to hold on to it, we choose to stall progress. We choose to let the things that are truly important in all of our lives get clouded by things that we perceive as important, oftentimes neglecting to take into account how or why those things came to take shape…from a complex linkage of ideas, events, situations of circumstance, regulations, feelings of pride, feelings of fear, feelings of desperation, struggles within, struggles to fit in, and struggles to break free…a complex linkage of ideas that originated in the past, whether yesterday or a hundred years ago, taken in through different perspectives and interpreted in different ways, often misunderstood by those who interpreted them differently, as well as by those who have never had those memories interwoven into their individual lives.
At the same time, those who misunderstand also have their own set of things that have shaped their life, which are likely misunderstood by others as well. These things are far too complex to unwind. They are far too complex to try and understand for every individual person. Luckily, we don’t have to understand. We simply have to acknowledge that we have all faced different challenges in life, and we will all continue to face challenges…challenges that we can’t weigh against the challenges that others face because we don’t understand the complex linkage of things throughout that person’s history that led to them feeling the way that they do. We have to trust, however, that the person got there because they want the same thing for themselves that everyone else is trying to achieve. We have to trust that at the core, we all want the same thing, and that everything else is just a series of things from the past that we continually allow to take precedent over those things that we all want…equality and the freedom to live the life that we want for our children…children that will be a continuation of us and our memories.
When we are able to agree that we are all struggling and fighting to achieve the same thing, we can then start to separate our fundamental needs from our belief systems. This is necessary because those two things require different approaches. You can’t have personal belief systems that can flourish and evolve without the core foundation of those fundamental needs. The fundamental needs should be the focus of laws, which should be used to enable people, not limit them. In order to do so, those laws need to be free of belief systems. If you want others to take on your beliefs, others need to feel free so that they can accept them. Beliefs are not forced, but rather accepted and embraced. Beliefs do not grow and spread unless those who hold those beliefs have embraced those beliefs themselves, as opposed to holding them because someone made it a requirement. When fundamental needs and belief systems are combined, they are contradicting each other. Freedom doesn’t have an asterisk next to it, and equality doesn’t give one person the right to add that asterisk over another. If the idea or belief is strong enough, people will eventually accept it. They will accept it because they are free to do so, and they will accept it because, through open discussion without force, you made them want to accept it.
Laws are not intended to be big. They are not meant to be a belief system in and of themselves. When they become big, they fail to address the critical things that they were aimed to fix. They add too much padding around the critical component(s), thereby hindering or slowing the law’s ability to enable those fundamental needs. That padding adds distractions, and those distractions are often used to hide things in that padded law that are tied to belief systems, or worse, attempts to feed greed and self-interest. Those things in the padding capture our attention. They appeal to parts of our belief systems, leading to a false assumption that, as a whole, they are also relevant. They make us lose focus on what the law is intended to do. They make it so the law becomes almost impossible to unravel. They make it so that we are unable to make progress. They keep us from being free.
That padding in the laws also provides mass. It provides a place where things can be hidden. A place where greed and self-interest can thrive. It changes the law from being a law for the people, instead making it a law for corporations and large establishments, whether it be a church, oil conglomerate, tobacco company, gun company, or similar entity, to include rules or laws that are in their own self interest, adding to or protecting their own power and wealth. Sometimes those establishments themselves are even hard to recognize, as they’ve interwoven themselves into other establishments or belief systems…or a combination of both in the case of something like political parties. The problem is that government is for the people, and most importantly, by the people. Those large establishments are not people. They exist because the people behind them were free to create and build them. They are given a voice because they are an indispensable part of people’s lives. With that voice, organizations are free to convince people to side with them, just like a belief system. However, they have no place in determining laws. They have no say in whether our fundamental needs are protected and met. They can’t.
Fundamental needs are something that people need. All people, regardless of who they are or what they are, and regardless of what they believe or don’t believe, share those same needs. That is what ties us together. The important thing is that people have the proper access to meet those needs, and that we focus our attention on what it takes to enable that freedom. It’s easy to look away when laws affect others but not you directly, but the fact is those laws do affect you. If there is a law that inhibits those fundamental needs for someone else, that means a law could just as easily be made that affects you — in an instant. That potential alone is restricting your ability to be free by making you question your own security. To remove that loophole in freedom, we need to stop allowing more and more laws to be made to meet the needs of things that aren’t even living…things that don’t represent our needs…things that lack something all voters should have…something we all share…something that will allow us to focus on the present and future rather than the past…a pulse.
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