On January 6th, 2021 the angry mob forced their way into the U.S. Capitol. And what did they really prove? I think they proved we, as a people, are not as good as we hoped we were.
To be clear, I don’t say “we” in that second sentence because I approve of anything that mob did. In fact, my sympathies lie more with Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the members of the “Squad” hiding in the congressional offices in terror of being publicly executed by the more radical elements of MAGA Nation whipped into a killing frenzy by the orange guy with the dead squirrel he uses as a toupee on his head.
I say “we” because we are one people. Even if some of us won’t admit it.
I don’t create pictures like this one to illustrate my writing because I think flag-worshipping blue-eyed, blond-haired people should have all the power and be the “right kind of people. But they are the kind of people I grew up with in Iowa, and I love them too… as well as all other kinds of people.
All people have equal value and should be treated with equal measures of kindness, generosity, and love. But I have no illusions that that point of view is shared by the majority of “We the People.”
Unfortunately, the world we now live in, at least in this country, is dominated by people who don’t see all people as equally valuable. Cruel people rise to the top of the socio-economic pyramid by exploiting others, being greedy, and treating others heartlessly as if they were disposable. And they actively prevent others from reaching the same heights on the pyramid.
Here’s the science behind what I am saying represented by Kohlberg’s published Stages of Moral Development, a theory backed by numerous replicated studies.
Most people top out at the Conventional level at stages 3 or 4.
We need leaders who are from at least the stage 5 level. (stage 6 are leaders like Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. A high enough level to die for their convictions far too often.)
Right now in the United States we seem to be firmly stuck with leaders in the Pre-Conventional stage 2. (What’s in it for me?)
This, then, is the reason that rich people are travelling long distances during the pandemic to get vaccinated in poor, predominantly-black neighborhoods in Florida. It is also why health insurance companies like Aetna will deny coverage of expensive medical treatments in this country so we can go bankrupt or die rather than having Aetna’s profit margin go downward even a little bit for their investors. And this is why right-wing propaganda mills like Fox News will make fear-excited ordinary people believe Trumpalump actually won the election and they should storm the capitol to hang Mike Pence, behead AOC, and actually murder a Capitol Hill policeman.
I am doing about everything I can do to help this problem by writing this. I am not well enough to protest in the streets with Black Lives Matter. I am not famous enough to make any kind of dent in the problem with my prose. But I am not alone.
Stand with me. Be kind to others more. Be generous where you can be. And love others no matter who they appear to be. A lot of little people doing a lot of little acts of goodness can topple mountains of badness. That’s who we really need to be.