An open letter to Congress

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By John F. Sase, Ph.D.
Gerard J. Senick, General Editor
Julie Gale Sase, Copyeditor


“Do or do not... there is no try.”
—Master Yoda (from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, directed by George Lucas, Lucasfilm, 1980)

The Preface

In this month’s column, we present our readers with a letter to the members of the U.S. Congress. Due to the events of the past year as well as the attitudes that have surfaced during this time, we feel that Congress needs to be reminded about the values on which the Law and our humanity are based.

To Whom It May Concern:

The Problem and the Need

In this country, we traditionally set our Economic Development upon the foundation of Law. In this respect, Economics and Law rely on the harmony of the diversities of human cultures and resources to sustain and to thrive. However, divisiveness has accelerated during the past year. Fragmentation of human society and the marginalization of specific groups has led to extreme acts of violence by small groups of individuals. Divisiveness and the lack of professional etiquette have trickled down from the White House through Congress and across America. What used to be considered rude, crude, and lacking in appropriate behavior now appears to be de rigueur.

Bringing all people together in harmonious growth remains a necessary goal. It is imperative for well-being in homes, classrooms, businesses, professional practices, and government offices in the United States. As members of Congress, your action is necessary to maintain peace and prosperity throughout the world. The toxic spillover that currently is occuring in America threatens our diplomacy, our global peace, and our survival as humans. We need to reverse this situation without delay. However, in order to accomplish this task, we would be wise to revisit the basic values from which our sustainable laws have emerged. Throughout human history, these values have supported our ethical and moral principles. The behavior drawn from these principles long has been expected by members of any civilized society.

A Contributing Factor?

For many of us who were children in the 1950s, we learned that lawmakers in Congress had a thorough background in the study of Law. The Website Legal Language Services cites that twenty-five out of our forty-five presidents read and studied Law to a substantial degree. Most of the early presidents learned Law as apprentices. Later, it was more common to study Law and related Philosophy, History, and Political Science at formal institutions of learning. The primary areas of concentration for future lawmakers are Constitutional and Criminal Law because they link inextricably to politics (legallanguage.com). Unfortunately for those of us who hold to the importance of such education, we have seen the number of those in Congress with a background in Law diminish from 80% in the mid-nineteenth century to less than 60% in the 1960s and to less than 40% by 2015. As of 2014, only 39% of the members of the House of Representatives had such a background. However, the Senate has stood at 57%.

Basic Human Values


Since the earliest days of our existence, we have had the desire for human values. These values help us to grow individually and to develop civilization. Ignorance of our human values has led to social decay. Let us consider the quality of virtue — the Golden Rule. Through virtue, we do not commit negative acts against our fellow humans; these acts also are hateful to ourselves. Virtue demands hope, justice, temperance, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, benevolent love, and self-control. The Golden Rule requires the mastery of our senses along with forgiveness, prudence, wisdom, truthfulness, concentration, compassion, courage, respect, honesty, and moral rectitude, to name but a few.

Goodness

Within the Golden Rule, affirmation of goodness and the benefits that we receive from it uplift the world. Many of us believe that the source of this goodness exists outside of ourselves in higher powers as well as in other humans. Through these thoughts and actions, we attain a peace of mind that prevents stress and anxiety in our lives by making us calm while awakening our inner strength and confidence. We use these qualities in respect to others because they stand as the fundamental principles for getting along with our fellow humans. Through such harmony of interaction, we feel valued and secure as we affirm that all life is interconnected and sacred.

Sincerity

We find many paths to higher truths and consciousness. All of these lead to a place, point, or vortex at which the divine and human worlds interact. With focused respect to what is sacred, our offerings emerge as genuine. Sincere giving, out of concern for others and the world around us, produces a positive effect on the lives of all of us. Living by truth brings us to a wholeness and to a clear higher consciousness. In contrast, a lust for power, possessions, and pleasure leads to the inner death of our humanity. When we speak with sincerity, we find the path to moral perfection, a path that is arduous but ultimately fullfilling. Sincere speech helps us to know right and to avoid wrong and to do what we say that we are going to do.

When we relate to others in peace and offer words of good intent in situations of great struggle, we avoid envisioning adversaries as either subhuman or nonhuman. Words of good intent include calling those whom we confront as brave, honorable, and loyal to their cause. Through such actions, we avoid situations that military generals and admirals remind us should occur only as a last resort. These words, spoken sincerely, form the path to the ideals of freedom and happiness among all. The sense of world peace reflects planetary nonviolence through which nations may cooperate willingly to prevent warfare.

Global Issues

Economic needs and wants drive wars. In this light, we need to consume only our fair share of the scarce resources that spread across our planet to greater or lesser degrees of equanimity. Therefore, both honesty and the impartiality to share fairly reflect the Economics of Freedom from prejudice, favoritism, and unfair self-interests. This approach to Economics honors animals because of their inherent value and the equality of all life, both human and nonhuman. As a species, we tend to forget our place in the food chain and our responsibility for the dominion and ethical stewardship that we once practiced. We care for the Earth because we have dominion, not control, over it. In short, we have neither the moral right nor the ability to exercise complete regulation of this planet. As stewards, being trusted is a greater good than being loved. On a higher plane, the ability to be trusted by others requires that we be both knowledgeable and well-informed; only then can we be trusted to govern ourselves. Keeping our counsel in trust requires that we be discreet, careful, and circumspect in what we say concerning our thoughts, deeds, or situations.

In Conclusion

These are the ideals that we have learned through human experience across many millennia. The principles of Economics, Law, and the Body Politic remain grounded in these ancient rules for living. In respect to these rules, it behooves the members of Congress as well as attorneys and economists to reflect on the guidelines for positive human behavior presented above. By integrating these rules and attributes into subsequent laws and practices, the evolution and survival of human society has a chance to continue. In addition, these principles may enhance one’s growth, both professional and personal. Only if we have leaders that everyone can respect, admire, and emulate then the Golden Rule becomes a value to which Americans will want to aspire. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

John F. Sase, Ph.D.

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Dr. John F. Sase teaches Economics at Wayne State University and has practiced Forensic and Investigative Economics for twenty years. He earned a combined M.A. in Economics and an MBA at the University of Detroit, followed by a Ph.D. in Economics at Wayne State University. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School (www.saseassociates.com).

Gerard J. Senick is a freelance writer, editor, and musician. He earned his degree in English at the University of Detroit and was a supervisory editor at Gale Research Company (now Cengage) for over twenty years. Currently, he edits books for publication (www.senick-editing.com).

Julie G. Sase is a copyeditor, parent coach, and empath. She earned her degree in English at Marygrove College and her graduate certificate in Parent Coaching from Seattle Pacific University. Ms. Sase coaches clients, writes articles, and copyedits (royaloakparentcoaching.com).