Our major institutions, our culture, and we ourselves fit together to form the System, which is fueled by the drive to climb the social ladder and look down on those below. Those inter-locking elements overlap and reinforce one another, which makes the System self-perpetuating. No one person or group controls the System, which individuals strengthen by buying cheap products made in other countries, failing to treat one another with respect, and seeking to be King of one Hill or another.
We’re told we can become whatever we want — so if we fail, it’s our fault. Hyper-competitive individualism and feverish ambition help preserve the power chain and its dominate-or-submit dynamic. Labeling people and discriminating against those considered inferior enables the System to divide and conquer. In ways that are taken for granted and often unconscious, cultural conditioning and other forms of soft power complement mass incarceration and other forms of hard power to instill conformity. As a result, we live in an America that is greedy, power-hungry, hateful, corrupt, and immoral.
“Me First” leads to “America First.” The United States tries to dominate, expand its influence, exploit low-wage workers and the environment, engage in “regime change,” and use its power to persuade other countries to serve America’s self-interest.
We who endorse this statement pledge to help transform the System by promoting the common good of the Earth Community — all humanity, all living beings, the environment, and life itself — and helping to reform our institutions, our culture, and ourselves to serve that purpose.
Our goal is to establish a balance between self-interest and the common good, become more altruistic and less materialistic, strengthen both individual and community empowerment, seek win-win solutions, make our society more democratic, and develop collaborative leadership. We will set aside labels, relate to one another as human beings, love others as we love ourselves, and avoid selfishness.
We will remember that no evil deed is a reflection of the whole person, place ourselves in other’s shoes, and not allow anger to become hatred. We will decline to condemn others by calling them less than human and refuse to seek revenge. When in conflict, we will seek reconciliation.
We will aim to be humble, accept that we cannot achieve everything we want, remember that everyone is equal in the eyes of God, try to do what is right, and learn to listen well. We will acknowledge mistakes and try to avoid repeating them. We will form close, trusted friendships and help one another become more effective activists and better human beings, as defined by each individual. By growing holistic communities, we will unlearn the System’s conditioning and nurture helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness, and a passion for justice, which are widespread but suppressed.
We intend to take big money out of politics, assure that seniors have enough retirement income to avoid poverty, guarantee that everyone who wants to work can find a living-wage job, provide needed human services, clean up and protect the environment, and offer everyone the opportunity to find dignity and value in work.
A foundation of economic security will greatly improve the quality of life and the tone of our culture. Rather than feeling pressured to work long hours to earn enough money to guard against catastrophe, Americans will have more time to enjoy life, take care of one another, and be creative and productive. Greater economic security will also diminish the fear that inflames racial divisions. Americans will be better able to acknowledge deeply ingrained problematic bias and more easily tell one another when words and actions are offensive.
A commitment to compassion will lead the United States to adopt a realistic foreign policy that recognizes the limits of our power and understands there are no military solutions to many problems. We will make clear our own values without trying to manipulate other countries to follow our path. We will work with other nations to solve problems, affirm the principle that no nation should interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, accept that nations may choose to establish trade barriers to protect their interests, and hesitate to take sides in complicated conflicts. We will support economic development elsewhere as best we can when other countries want assistance, because as members of the human family, we’re all in this together.
To help achieve those goals, we:
- Urge Americans to participate in activist organizations that pressure Washington to establish compassionate national policies, especially policies that a majority of Americans support.
- Urge those organizations to join together in broad coalitions that focus on priorities in a sustained manner.
- Urge those organizations to encourage their members to unlearn divisive, oppressive tendencies the System drills into Americans.
That unlearning must happen internally, within each person’s heart. But many of us also benefit from supporting one another in that effort. So we encourage compassion-minded activists to experiment with ways to facilitate personal growth, mutual support, and political action.
Toward that end, at least once a month we who endorse this statement will share a meal with two or more other endorsers to discuss the statement and how to advance its principles. Eventually, we hope an inclusive team will organize a national gathering to form a network of holistic communities to explore together how we can best transform the System.
If you agree with this Statement of Principles, please sign it on the Transform the System website, report on your efforts there, and occasionally review what others report to see what you might learn. Let us join together to promote the common good of the Earth Community.
NOTE: Please send comments or suggested changes to this statement to Wade Hudson.
You are also invited to discuss it with Wade and others Saturday, November 26, 10 am. Please RSVP, <wadeATwadehudsonDOTnet>.