A culture of kindness

May 30, 2009

Remember HHH? I saw a quote of this this morning that so perfectly reflected my view of a good government.

The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life . . . the children; those who are in the twilight of life . . . the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life . . . the sick . . . the needy . . . and the disabled.
~ Hubert H. Humphrey

Kindness is underrated in our society, especially kindness to those on the margins of life. It’s one of the chief separations –polarizations–in our political philosophies.

Helping those in the dawn or twilight of life is something many European countries get right. Before you get on your America: love-it-or-leave-it-high horse and say “well, go live there, this is the best country in the world and if you don’t like it leave” (and don’t get me started on how stupid that kind of response is), let me say this:

1. There isn’t only one “best country”. That fiction is a hallmark of our American competitive spirit, where we have to be first, best and loved by everyone, or we’ll beat them over the head.

2. There are other things European countries don’t get right. I’m talking about one thing: how we treat those among us who need help. We tend to want to punish them. Or ignore them. They tend to lend a helping hand.

3. You can argue that those economic system are a mess because of their funding social programs, but whose economic system has melted down? Ours? or theirs? That’s a rhetorical question.

4. You can point out that our quality of life has always been far better, and if you measure that by great big SUVs, mini-mansions, 5-acre ranchettes and a culture of consumerism, well, you’re right. Could that culture be how we went wrong?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do my share of consumerism. And I am always glad to get back home after a trip abroad. (After all, it IS home. Just like Europeans are glad to get back to THEIR home. In Europe.) But I learned a long time ago, when I had nothing, and I do mean nothing, except my parents as a backstop if I became destitute, and the love of friends, that I don’t really need “stuff”.

There’s no question in my mind that the kindness you give out to people is reflected back in how they treat you. It’s good karma. And one hopeful thing about Obama is that he didn’t come from uber-privilege. He seems to actually be a politican capable of accessing his heart. And that’s a good thing.

In our American society, children still go hungry. The aged are living on tiny stipends, are often discounted and sometimes abandoned. The disabled are shunted aside. I’m worried, because our Ugly-American-consumerism has destroyed our economic system and social programs are being cut. More kids will go to sleep hungry. More old people will live at the poverty level.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I do know this.

HHH had it right. We’d be a lot better off if we seasoned our policies and politics with a little human kindness.

One comment on “A culture of kindness
  1. sushil yadav says:

    Middle-Aged Diva , In response to your post on consumerism, culture and kindness :

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

    “Growth Rate” – “Economy Rate” – “GDP”

    These are figures of “Ecocide”.
    These are figures of “crimes against Nature”.
    These are figures of “destruction of Ecosystems”.
    These are figures of “Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality”.

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

    Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

    Only after the last tree has been cut down,
    Only after the last river has been poisoned,
    Only after the last fish has been caught,
    Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

    To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

    Delhi, India

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.