Who’s right? We cross each other constantly in our struggle to maintain a sense of freedom and personal rights.

Without ethics or beliefs to guide us, we have run amuck with an imbalance between our desire for personal expression, and the happiness and well-being of our community and our society at large.

We argue over guns, health care, education and climate change. In the midst of controversies that are reflected in changing laws and legislation that take away personal choice about our bodies or our safety, have we overstepped the boundaries that could guide us to a better, happier co-existence?

I believe that we are in a national crisis caused by our own confusion about the interpretation of a definition of democratic fairness. A definition that looks something like this one taken from the Parliamentary Education Office in Australia. “A democratic society is one that works towards the ideals of democracy: Respect for individuals, and their right to make their own choices. Tolerance of differences and opposing ideas. Equity — valuing all people, and supporting them to reach their full potential.”

Our confusion has led to conflicts with no end in sight. Here’s one localized example. Certainly, someone has the right to own a motorcycle or car, but what about the right to create noise, add devices that embellish bangs, grunts and screams? What about the right to a good night’s sleep or the ability to enjoy a peaceful afternoon on a porch or deck? What happens when these two needs conflict? Who’s right?

Is the problem that we have moved so far from accepting moral responsibility for each other? Have we been diverted from a spiritual and ethical obligation to maintain consideration for each other? It seems that there is a loss of courtesy towards our fellow neighbours and community members.  We have fallen into continuous disputes based on a sense of personal liberty. Has our tolerance of differences become so buried in personal desire that we ignore acceptance of each other in favour of arrogance, ‘our way is the only way’?

I think we have come a long way from considering the happiness factor that could guide us to a more peaceful, calmer existence on Earth. I think we stopped listening to each other a long time ago and planted walls that keep us in separate corners on issues of fairness and justice. We are a long way from governance that takes into consideration the best approach for the continuation of our humanity, our world. We have allowed people across the globe to starve and struggle in horrible conditions while in America we focus on who has the right to control others. Materialism has led to a misguided sense of who deserves respect and who doesn’t count. Power and greed have taken the lead while decency and courtesy have been spurned.

There is no easy way out of the mess we are in. Without the desire to change our attitudes towards each other, towards humanity in general and the survival of the world, we will continue on this destructive path.

Instead of hearing leadership talk about specific actions or further regulations to exert control over those who disagree with them and their followers, our potential and continuing governors must bring forth efforts to promote unity. I would hope that they would raise their concerns that would emphasize ethical and moral values and begin to move us forward towards a more peaceful, happier existence.

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