Even though change is a constant in our lives, it has never been easy to change. In fact, the more experience we have, the more difficult it is for us to change. Extend that difficulty to several generations or several centuries, and previously unacceptable activities become the norm of society(ies).
For over two hundred years, US history was written as the innovative cowboys overcoming the nomadic American Indians, partly with the help of diseases like measles and smallpox. Until the arrival of the internet, it has not been easy to highlight evidence such as Lord Amherst, for whom the city of Amherst, Massachusetts is named, was alleged to be among the first to engage in chemical warfare by intentionally distributing blankets from soldiers who died of these diseases to the American Indians. I was never educated that Andrew Jackson was a lifelong killer of American Indians.
Why is this relevant today? US citizens have accepted the norm that the cowboy stories are true, and the American Indians have been given opportunities to attend higher education but instead elected to pursue development of casinos. On a global scale, US citizens are often narcissists focused on ourselves instead of global events, partly because only 40% of US Citizens hold passports which are required for foreign travel. In other words, at least 60% of Americans have always lived within US borders.
Donald Trump is perpetuating the myth that the USA can still lead the world unilaterally through false hyperbole that focuses on self-aggrandizement. Trump believes what’s good for Trump is also good for his core supporters. Much like his declaration of Islamic extremists, there are many Christian extremists among Trump’s core supporters who are more likely to live in the US heartland where an even higher percentage of US Citizens have no experience outside the USA. He is also a narcissist whose life reflects values that he used to do whatever is necessary to succeed, independent of moral considerations.
Let’s change by becoming more knowledgeable about global events. In the last 50 years, it was China who lifted hundreds of millions of humans above severe poverty, following by far the most effective anti-poverty policies in a fast-growing economy. China is trying hard to change, as Hong Kong has the most stringent Intellectual Property laws in the world. Passing laws is insufficient to change, as the Chinese must overcome 200 years of foreigners not respecting Chinese laws when foreigners used gunboats to force opium trade into China, against Chinese laws. Why should we expect the Chinese to respect foreign laws when the Chinese laws were not respected for hundreds of years by foreigners? In other words, the Golden Rule did not apply. In order to change, let’s not forget The Golden Rule – do unto others what you want others to do unto you.