chronis yan | parthenon |

“Being human is given. But keeping our humanity is a choice.” – Anonymous

Like the Parthenon in Greece our humanity is crumbling around us. 

Humanity – All are one    – 0. 

Tribalism – My tribe first  – 1. 

You just have to look at the headlines each day to see that our humanity, defined as “understanding, compassion, and kindness to all other people”, is under increasing attack. Humanity is under attack because we have lost our ability to see humanity as one. This is not the first time this has happened, but it is a moment when the trend toward more humane treatment of everyone is changing. In the 1960s and until recently we have made great progress in treating everyone in this country as one.

But tribalism, defined as the groups we are a part of and believe in without regard to humanity, is growing. Skin color is a form of tribalism. Within the US we see this happening in the crimes against Asians, while others stand by and watch. We are also seeing it in the laws that were recently passed in Georgia, making it more difficult for everyone to vote and more importantly to me no longer allowing people standing in line to vote to be given water or food. It is impossible for anyone to rationalize this inhumane behavior other than the powerful tribe putting down the weaker. People In power are doing everything they can to stay in power regardless of the human consequences.

I lived through desegregation in the south and the civil rights movement. Watched from across the street as the brave black students were escorted into the Little Rock High School for the first time by national guard officers. Heard the white students as they jeered and harassed the troops and black students. But integration happened and southern society pushed the Jim Crow laws and feelings underground. It will take generations to become one people. The passage of the civil rights laws as a result of the marches helped cement that progress.

Here I’ll give you a hint as to my age. Do you remember the movie Mr Smith goes to Washington? Here is a link to the trailer. It is a movie about a naive young man appointed to fill a vacated senate seat and what he believed that being a senator meant versus what he found in Washington. It is still as true today as it was when it originally came out in 1939. No, I am not that old. I may be one of the few left that think congress is supposed to represent the needs of all of the people and to provide for their safety rather than voting along party lines. 

What we are seeing today is voting along party lines regardless of the issue. The party makes my decision for me. I am a follower not a thinking decision maker.This last week we lost 16 people to gun violence and Congresses’ response is nonexistent. So once again tribalism rules. Two tribes join together here: gun owners and party line voters. We will still be selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them and gun violence will remain. People In power are doing everything they can to stay in power regardless of the human consequences. 

However, we can regain our humanity. It is not lost forever. But it is up to each of us!

We need to internalize this and recognize that when we make decisions the human tribe and the US tribe are the highest priority. My tribes include humanity, US, church, rotary, family, and others that don’t come to mind at this point.The concept is that you have to make decisions that are favorable to the highest priority tribe. Which is your dominant tribe? 

Five things each of us can do to save humanity.

1. Make Better decisions.

How do we make our decisions? What is our North Star that guides us? My North Star is “We are all humans. Every person deserves to be treated by me with kindness and respect. We are all equal, journeying on this planet together.” But for others their dominant tribe seems to be their political party, their race, or their lust for power. “My tribe first” seems to be the mantra for today.

2. Find ways to serve humanity.

There are people and organizations serving humanity in the world. Shelter Box provides shelter and supplies for refugees and disaster relief for others. Doctors Without Borders is another great organization that helps people throughout the world. Your local food bank and soup kitchen, who always need volunteers, are helping in your community. They are fighting an uphill battle as the powerful strive to stay in power.

3. Change our priority Lens.

For Humanity to survive it will require each of us to recognize the priority of humanity over tribalism. 

4. Hold our legislators accountable.

It is up to us to hold our legislators accountable.We need to hold everyone accountable for their actions. 

5. Reform our justice system. It must be made to live up to its billing of “equal justice for all.”

 And the US must again be the voice of moral democracy in the world holding other world leaders accountable for their actions. We must live better and grow into better human beings.

Understand yourself and hold others accountable to humanity!

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela