Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rapidly becoming irrelevant in America: The principles of ethics and morality

It appears that we have entered an era in this nation’s history is which the principles of ethics and morals are becoming irrelevant in both this government and our society.

Image Credit: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Take a look at what is happening in the U.S. Congress and, especially, what is not happening. Take a look at this society and what is going on within it. What do we see? It appears that we have entered an era in this nation’s history is which the principles of ethics and morals are becoming irrelevant in both this government and our society.

Ethics can be thought of a guide to one’s daily behavior, whether in societal settings or in business matters. Adhering to moral principles is simply understanding the difference between right and wrong and acting accordingly.

How about integrity? Well, integrity can be thought of as a combination of ethics and morals; the quality of being honest and truthful with a steadfast adherence to a strict moral and ethical code.   

If we were living in a country in which those in our government and the people of this society were strongly committed to following the principles of ethics and morality we would not have:  

A government that has conducted a long succession of wars that simply cannot be justified in any way; a government that intimidates and dominates other countries, a thoroughly corrupted Congress, controlled by the money, power and influence of Corporate America, one that refuses to follow the will of the people.  

Republicans would not have bestowed the lion’s share of tax cuts upon the wealthiest Americans but would have worked with Democrats to create a plan by which all Americans from the top of the income spectrum to the bottom would have received their fair share of tax relief. 

America would not have the massive inequity of wealth and income that it currently has, by far the largest among the developed nations of the world. American workers would see their wages increasing over time instead of having them frozen for many years; while the income of CEOs keeps climbing.

We would not have a government that, under this president, has withdrawn from the Paris climate change agreement and also the Iran Nuclear Agreement. To refuse to take part in these critically important agreements that almost all of the countries of the world have adopted is unconscionable.

We have the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, tearing down or severely weakening rules and regulations involving air and water safety as well as scaling back auto emission standards. Auto manufacturers have, for years, been following government guidelines which have significantly reduced CO2 emissions rising into and polluting the atmosphere. Pruitt, with the blessing of Trump, seems to be instituting measures that are harmful to the environment, the exact opposite of what he should be doing.

Immigration: Attorney General Sessions has declared that when illegal immigrants are detained at borders he will separate parents from their children; an extremely cruel, inhuman action. How in the world can human beings do something so despicable to their fellow human beings? For a good insight into this entire ongoing problem with immigration in America and its root causes please see my previous article on this issue.  

With all his deceit, lying, manipulating and other devious actions Trump is, in effect, telling his supporters that ethics and morality have no place in government matters, that they are irrelevant and there is no need to adhere to them. And sad to say a large part of these robotic supporters listen to what he says and buy into it without any hesitation.  

What we currently have in Washington today could best be described as a regressive government. This Congress, totally controlled by the GOP, deliberately places America’s most pressing problem on the legislative back burner. There are no positive, constructive measures on the agenda; the objective seems to be to eliminate as many rules and regulations as possible to help corporations increase profits – and then contribute more money to politicians’ campaigns.  

When we talk about ethics and morals the words trust and honor come to mind. Take the situation with North Korea in which Trump wants that country to totally end its nuclear program and get rid of its entire current nuclear arsenal. Does anyone think that Trump inspires trust in these negotiations, when he is known as the master art of lying and deceit; that he will honor his promise to remove the sanctions and help that country to establish a viable economy? 

Do we think that Kim, the dangerous tyrant who trusts no one, will believe that Trump and the U.S. government will honor a commitment to refrain from using its military power to control North Korea? That it can be trusted not to launch a pre-emptive attack on it such as it did in the cases of Vietnam, Iraq and Libya? Would he be that gullible? Not on your life.

Mass shootings are an, absolutely horrific element in our society and are now becoming almost commonplace. Why is this, how can this be? Because the general reaction of members of this government and far too many Americans is a distinct and very troubling lack of extreme anger and rage.

If the America of today were guided by these important principles politicians would not hesitate to pull out all the stops in banning all assault weapons, instituting very comprehensive background checks, as well as initiating effective measures to stop this carnage.  

People across America would be enraged, strongly demanding that Congress acts swiftly on this issue to bring it under control. The American public would target and remove from Congress any politician who takes NRA’s money and then kills all attempts to address and solve this problem.  

In this country we have nearly 2.3 million of our citizens incarcerated, a prison population rate of 716 per 100,000 people, not only the greatest among the developed nations of the world, but the greatest among the entire world community of nations.  

This national shame is, of course, due to violence of many varieties ranging from murders to drug violations to many forms of civil disobedience throughout this entire society; cheating, stealing, hacking, and numerous types of scams. Millions of Americans are under attack by predators that are all around them; for example if you are a woman or a senior citizen, you are a prime target, you are fair game for these predators.

And here is something that I can accurately predict. When this article is published there will be any number of individuals that, after reading it, will come up with the same old worn out claim that “so what, it’s always been like this with many forms of violence in this society, it’s nothing new.”

And you know what? They will be right. However, here’s what they will be missing: civilizations, at least in theory, are supposed to evolve, to progress, not stagnate or regress. I remember this statement I recently came across; “A significant step forward in our evolution would be an increase in respect for all other life forms.”  

That sentence can have a variety of meanings but I see two as the most important: a far greater respect for our fellow human beings and for this planet. When we can eventually evolve in this way we will be adhering to the principles of ethics and morality. And we will then live in a far different America.

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