Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; a black man, Barack Obama was elected President; a new healthcare program was passed in Congress to expand coverage to millions of people; our stock markets went to record highs; our unemployment rates went way down after a terrible pandemic. These were all important and positive events in America’s goals of social and economic fairness. However, like many other events that occur in this country: good and bad, just and unjust, fair and unfair, they are just events. What we find is that for every event that seems to be a step forward, we subsequently take two steps back in creating equity, justice, and compassion in our relationships with each other. We are constantly teased into thinking that we have started a sea-change. Like the Gordon Lightfoot song says, “Sometimes I think it’s a sin, when I feel like I’m winning when I’m losing again”.
Positive and substantive changes in our relationships will not happen as a result of individual events as important as they are. They will not happen until we think of all our fellow Americans in terms of “we” instead of “us and them”. It will not happen until our people realize that all of us are brothers and sisters traveling together on a great experimental voyage to achieve human rights, individual freedoms, dignity, social and economic equity. This country is called the United States which infers that we are a United People. But we are not. This reality is not an accident or just something that happened. It is the result of a culture created by consistent systemic failures in programs in the areas of poverty, education, healthcare, etc. It is a culture that brings out the darker sides of human nature; i.e., greed, envy, bigotry, hate, distrust, anger, etc.
To usher in a new era of social blessings there must be a cultural change. To create cultural change there must be a systemic change. Systemic change requires that we adopt a new system. To have a systemic change there needs to be a new system to change to. A system that changes the way we feel about each other. A system that, through its actions and tenets, breeds respect, compassion and appreciation for each other and celebrates our differences. A system that says there is value in every human being that can be brought out and enhanced by a resourceful and benevolent society. A system that serves our better angels. A system that truly blesses America.
Change the system and you will change the culture. Change the culture and you change human behavior and our relationships. If we do it right, we will save our great democracy and our beloved country.
The book CARING for DEMOCRACY: The American Fix, published by The Institute for CARING, explains these dynamics in detail and proposes a unique and powerful fourth system called the CARING system. This system will add to and enhance our existing Political, Legal, and Economic systems. It will help our democracy and capitalistic system to create an equitable, compassionate and sustainable society without condemning us to failure and unsustainable deficits and debt.
We ask you to read this book, consider The CARING system, and if you believe it has promise, then help us to transform our polarization, financial dilemmas, and social chaos into a united, loving, and thriving country.