I continue to hear good friends locally and most commentators nationally agree that we are experiencing a significant lack of unity within our “United” States — more severe than at any other time in our lives.
Many attribute this in large part to the previously undercover and now all-too-visible battle of “American Marxists” versus the rest of us. Such unconventional battles transcend our conventional philosophical and political differences — Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, elites versus populists.
These differences — both conventional and unconventional — are totally appropriate to profess and debate. Our constitution’s First Amendment assures no less. What’s not appropriate is the manner in which these ideas are too frequently presented, opposed, defended, debated and implemented — on both sides of the aisle.
Too many politicians and woke corporate executives have improperly utilized character assassination, outright lying, fraud, bribery and multiple forms of corruption, to name but a few.
We all know these problems. We see them reported in the media almost daily. They are a huge “turn off” to many of us — yet short-term remedies need to be applied including, where appropriate, civil litigation and criminal indictments.
But what’s the long-term solution? Fortunately, it’s not complicated.
Centuries ago, a very wise man articulated a series of behavioral practices we each should adopt and consistently practice — as many of us already do. Yet far too many others of us — especially those in high positions — do not. They, too, need to do so if unity is ever to be restored to our national culture and political life.
Here’s a quick summary for your review and, hopefully, your reacceptance in terms of your own personal life and, if applicable, your organizational leadership.
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received by doing the following:
• Be completely humble.
• Be patient, bearing with one another in love.
• Make every effort to keep unity.
• Be angry if warranted but don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.
• Don’t give evil a foothold.
• Steal no longer.
• Work — do something useful that you may have something to share with those in need.
• Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.
• Say only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs
• Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander — along with every form of malice.
• Be kind and compassionate to one another.
• Forgive each other.
Many would add: “Repent (turn away) from your sin.” Most of all — as strongly implied above — there can be no unity without truth. This is a widely accepted precept. Even our federal oath of office includes, “…I will bear TRUE faith and allegiance . . .”
In addition to our politicians and major corporate executives, we each need to do our part — personally and organizationally.
Finally, who recorded the above summary so long ago?
Born in Tarsus, Turkey, he grew up in Jerusalem as a Jew named Saul. Later, his name was changed to Paul. These guidelines are found in Ephesians, Chapter 4, of the Bible. They are the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Whether Jew, Christian, or other faith, these guidelines are relevant to all of us and critical to the restoration of unity in our nation. Most of all, politicians, as well as executives of major corporations, must stop lying. Being truthful in all we do — especially in the collection and interpretation of data — is the key to restoration of our national unity.
To quote C. S. Lewis: “Seek Unity and you will find neither Unity nor Truth. Seek the light of truth, and you will find Unity and Truth.”
John Pryor is a local management consultant and a lifelong resident of Bakersfield.