Every once in a while, it is good to take stock of our beliefs. Especially in times of stress, our tendency to react unthinkingly to events and other people may lead us astray, causing us to say or do things we might regret or which, at the very least, do not express our best sense of who we would like to be.
Plus, during a highly polarized political season, many people assume that the highest expression of our political views is simply what party we vote for rather than the much more important function of interacting with our fellow citizens on a daily basis.
So, I am taking an inventory of my essential political beliefs and setting them forth here so that I do not forget them in the chaos of the times.
I believe in joy.
I believe in gratitude and kindness.
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.
I believe in asking questions instead of passing judgment.
I believe in telling the truth, especially when it is inconvenient.
I believe in sharing, in taking time to enjoy the company of strangers.
I believe in comforting the lonely and encouraging the dispirited.
I believe in the diversity of big cities and the community of small towns.
I believe in taking time to walk down sidewalks and long gravel driveways.
I believe in the virtue of work, the pride of craftsmen, the integrity of professionals, and the dignity of those who do essential tasks over and over again every single day.
I believe in the joy of discovery and the endless delights of curiosity.
I believe in the unquestioning loyalty of dogs. (I don’t believe in cats, but I’m working on it.)
I believe in the youthful protestors who challenge us to examine the latent prejudice in our most comfortable assumptions and habits.
I believe in the counsel of elders who encourage us to pay attention to history and acknowledge the wisdom
gifted to us by our ancestors.
I believe that black lives matter.
I believe in the inherent dignity of all people, including those I do not understand or even like.
I believe in the Declaration of Independence.
I believe in the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.
I believe in the peace that settles over the world an hour before sunrise.
I believe in the power of light to dispel the darkness.
I believe in justice and mercy, and that we cannot have one without the other.
I believe in my neighbors.
I believe in the friends and the families of my neighbors.
I believe in the common good.
I believe in America.
Richard Kyte is director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University. He also is a community member of the La Crosse Tribune editorial board.
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