A More Excellent Way: Restoring Civility in the USA

There is “a more excellent way” through our hatred, polarization and violence. Please ponder the following:

Being conservative is not fascist, racist, sexist or xenophobic. It means limited government, free markets and certain traditional values. Being liberal does not make you an atheist, communist or hater. You are more sanguine about the role of government and long for international agencies to improve human life.

Violent and vocal opponents of liberty are stifling free expression, threatening the lives of any who will not tow a narrow ideological line.

There is a more excellent way – the way of agape love that is passionate and principled about human flourishing.

Love means wanting the best for all and thinking deeply and acting decisively for that goal.
Love means risking debate because freedom of conscience/religion is the first freedom and more precious than hurt feelings.
Love means listening to the stories of real people next door, not just passing on media memes.
Love means looking for the best in others while recognizing the worst in ourselves.
Love means self-discipline, especially of emotions and words and that can wound deeply.
Love engages in peacemaking, from college classrooms to war zones, from family disputes to economic and environmental issues.

Whether “alt-right” or “progressive”, Republican, Democrat, Green or Independent, let’s foster civility and honest debate and refuse to give in to intolerance. Let’s end the tired nostalgia of the Right – that somehow life was better in the 1950s or 1960s – before millions could vote. Let’s end the tired revisionism and fantasies of the left – that America is fundamentally evil and any traditions are suspect.

Let’s create a fresh history, humbly learning from the heroic deeds of our mothers and fathers and repenting of the injustices of others. Time for creativity, not collectivism, fresh thinking, not slogans, ethical service, not agitation.

A more excellent way is possible.

Immigration. Ellis Island 2017: 11 Principles for Shaping Compassionate and Principled Policy

  1.  Compassion and hospitality are compatible with the rule of law and national sovereignty.
  2.  Citizenship matters and voting is for citizens.
  3.  Violent felons should be deported and known gang and terrorist affiliations are reason to reject applications.
  4.  For all desiring legal status – from student visas to work permits to citizenship: the process can be streamlined and improved, with reasonable vetting and follow-through.
  5.  For the current undocumented residents: if you desire long-term residency, come out of the shadows and begin the normalization process, without fear of deportation (if you are free from criminal activity). Businesses will be penalized for failure to comply with the law. There must be a statute of limitations for welfare benefits and students must maintain visas. American citizens and legal residents will receive priority for scholarships and registrations in classes at colleges, universities and trade schools.
  6.  Enforce the Mexican border well and demand reciprocal cooperation against the drug cartels and governmental corruption. Reject all racism and revisionism from radical groups like La Raza that aim to subvert American values.
  7.  Anyone of any faith or none that calls for the subversion of the American government and human liberty is not welcome. Background checks and careful questions can help keep terrorism at bay.
  8.  Islamic leaders must reject violent jihad and the imposition of Sharia Law as a parallel system for their communities in all but the narrowest religious matters. Religious liberty is the first freedom…and it creates the ability for all people to commit to any faith or none without fear. There must never be “no go” zones for civilians or law enforcement and no suppression of non-violent free speech. A Christian evangelist or a Jewish Rabbi should feel safe in any neighborhood of Dearborn, MI.
  9.  Both political parties and business leaders must come clean and stop the dishonesty. Democrats are happy with more voters and swelling welfare rolls, increasing governmental reach. Republicans and some libertarians love the cheaper labor, from service to technology, thus un- or under employing millions of qualified citizens. E-verify and priority for American citizens as workers must be part of our policy.
  10.  No more sanctuary cities or campuses…there is no need if the system is reformed and people are welcome.
  11.  Finally, create Hospitality Centers along all borders and other points of entry and foster a welcoming and safe environment. Work with local and state governments, business and non-profit and religious groups to transition refugees to sustainable work so the welfare and medical systems are not overwhelmed.

We can create a new history of compassion and safety for both citizens and immigrants, residents and refugees. Let’s stop the shouting and get to work.

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