Point Well Taken! — Balancing Our Principles; Focusing on Our Calling
Point well taken, Karen! I go back to my original statement “we must move forward in a reasonable manner balancing two of our most important national principles.” With regard to elected officials in various offices of public service my thinking is along these lines: The individual that holds the office is not “the office.” That individual is charged to see that the duties and responsibilities of “the office” under the law are fulfilled. The individual holding the office may not actually perform all of the day to day duties and responsibilities of “the office.” Perhaps an analogy for this would be our responsibilities as a parent. As I parent, I am responsible to see that my child is loved and nurtured and his needs are met. That does not mean that I, personally and individually, must change every diaper and prepare every meal. I have some individual freedoms and options within my role as parent. Thus, perhaps there is room for a balance of individual freedoms within our public “offices.” And too, elected individuals get their start at the polling place. Let’s make sure we educate ourselves regarding the candidates’ positions on all the concerns and exercise our right to vote for the candidate whom we deem will best represent our citizenry and uphold the law of the land.
Yes, there is always the slippery slope! And, I would hope reasonableness, balance, and our calling – love your neighbor as yourself – would be the guiding principle for all as we maneuver the slope. With respect to those holding positions entrusted with our public health and safety – such as doctors, nurses, policeman, teachers, EMT’s – I would hope that it was their heart of care and compassion for others that led them into the profession and that same heart will guide them in continuing to care for all others. Also, I think some of these folks took oaths to this effect. Should an individual in a position relevant to public health and safety feel compelled to deny services to anyone for whatever reason, I would hope that he/she has full knowledge and understanding of the possible or likely consequences of his/her refusal – public outcry, loss of job, revocation of license/certification to practice, litigation, and, heaven forbid, in the extreme the loss of another’s life. I am reminded of an expression I heard long ago, “Your rights end where my nose begins!”
Yet, again, we are discussing rights as opposed to focusing on our calling – to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. I know some would call me a hopeless idealist. I am an idealist filled with the hope of possibility and guided by pragmatic reason and balance. I am reminded of George Bernard Shaw’s words and Robert F. Kennedy’s paraphrase: “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” As pilgrims in this life if we do not seek the right, the common good, the ideal, we will certainly never reach it.