America needs more love. Who could argue with that? So where did Marianne Williamson’s policy ideas go wrong? Read on to find out in this week’s edition of “Isn’t That Ironic?”.
I find that many people of goodwill go a bit off the track when they try to translate their sense of goodwill and justice into public policy. What works for individuals isn’t necessarily what works for governments. It’s a bit ironic, but taking a good personal principle, like making restitution for your past injustices to others, doesn’t work when it’s forced on a whole nation. The healing that happens in your own heart when the act comes from your heart, doesn’t happen on a societal scale and it doesn’t happen when it’s forced. For example, take Marianne Williamson’s idea of reparation payments for the descendants of former slaves.
She proposed giving billions of dollars to the descendants of former slaves to compensate them for the injustices done to their forebears. Yes, there were injustices. There always are. Today is no different. But we cannot undo the events of the past. Would this proposal heal the wounds of injustice today? Would it make anyone better off today? Unlikely—on both counts. The billions paid to the former students of residential schools in Canada does not appear to have changed their lives in any meaningful way. Where would all this money come from? From people who are paying taxes today—or tomorrow since it would likely be borrowed money.
We can’t bring justice by taking money from people who are not guilty and giving it to people who are not innocent. The people from whom the government would take this money are not guilty of having slaves. The people to whom the government would give the money are not slaves, and their fellow taxpayers are not responsible for whatever present misery they suffer.
We can’t bring justice by taking money from people who are not guilty and giving it to people who are not innocent.
What happened to personal responsibility? Personal responsibility is also a great spiritual principle. The problems I have in my life are largely of my own making, and solving those problems is largely in my own hands. If you are honest, you’ll admit the same for yourself. It’s a universal truth. Whatever problems are faced today by people with black skin, each one must solve their own problems in their own ways. That’s what free will and personal responsibility are all about. (Let’s forget about the obvious racism in trying to even define people by their skin colour—how “black” do you have to be to qualify? How “white” do you have to be to pay?)
Money doesn’t heal the wounds of injustice—forgiveness does. Forgive others who have wronged you and forgive yourself for all your own past injustices to others. Forgiveness, not money, releases us from bondage. Without forgiveness, we are the slaves of past injustices. We cannot freely live in the present and we cannot look forward to a better future. We are trapped in the past. That’s why forgiveness is such a powerful and essential spiritual principle.
Money doesn’t heal the wounds of injustice—forgiveness does.
Love, forgiveness, justice—all the spiritual virtues—come from, and exist in, people. You and me. They do not exist in institutions. There cannot be a loving government, a compassionate government, etc. These are personal qualities, not institutional qualities. Institutions only act through people. Let all your actions be just. Let love be your motivation in all you do. You can’t legislate love and forgiveness. They exist within each person or they don’t exist at all. Let them flourish within you!
God Bless You!
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