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There is a simple rule taught young christians that is actually quite powerful even or maybe because of its simplicity. Now some version of this rule of reciprocity has appeared in the ethical teachings of most cultures. But this version from the New Testament's Book of Luke is probably the one most familiar to Americans.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  

Let's see if we expand this simple rule to put some of today's issues in terms that make them easier to understand.

Torture

If it would be torture if done to your son or daughter, it is torture if we do it to someone else's son or daughter.

If you think your son-in-law would confess to killing Michael Jackson to stop being tortured, do not think that someone else's son-in-law isn't confessing to knowing Osama Bin Laden to stop being tortured.  

illegal surveillance

If it would be illegal if Stalin/Hitler/Idi Amin did it, it is illegal if George W. Bush does it.

If it is an invasion of your rights and un-American if Clinton does it, it is an invasion of your rights and un-American if Cheney does it.

Presidential powers

If it is a troubling extension of presidential power if George W. Bush does it, it is a troubling extension of presidential power if Barack Obama does it.

If it is illegal when John Q. Public does it, it is illegal when the President of the United States does it. Or the Vice President.

Pharmacists

If it is wrong for the cashier to refuse to sell you meat because of their deeply held beliefs, it is wrong for the pharmacist to refuse to fill your prescription because of their deeply held beliefs.

If it would be wrong for a pharmacist to refuse to fill your viagra prescription, it is wrong for a pharmacist to refuse to fill a birth control prescription (no matter what type).

Health Care

If it would be wrong for you to have to decide between eating and taking your blood pressure medicine, it is wrong for the poor to have to make the same decision.

If it is wrong for the government to decide what the doctor can or cannot do for their patient, it is wrong for health insurance companies to decide what the doctor can do for their patient.

If a bureaucrat in the government is not a medical professional, neither is a bureaucrat in a health insurance company.

If it is wrong for the government to determine doctors rates, it is wrong for Insurance Companies to determine doctors rates. Or physical therapists or psychologists or...

Lobbying

If it is wrong for the SEIU or any other Union to lobby the government, it is wrong for Oxford, Exxon, or any other corporation to lobby the government.

If it is wrong for the ACLU to write legislation for Congress, it is wrong for the banking industry to do so.

If it is wrong for Move On to run commercials about the issues, it is wrong for the NRA to do so.

Deficit

If it is wrong to use deficit spending to build things in the US, it is wrong to cut taxes and/or continue them while there are deficits.

If it is wrong to provide services to the people of the US because of deficits, it is wrong to start wars without the money to fund them.

Financial Markets and Services

If children's games need rules so everyone knows how to play the game, the financial markets need rules so that everyone knows how to play the game.

If it is fraud if it is done to you, it is fraud if it is done to the pension fund.

If the gains are private, the losses should be private.

Prosecution

If prosecution is a deterrent for murder, it is a deterrent for war crimes.

Apparently we are a simple nation with a short attention span, which needs simple explanations. In some ways isn't that what framing is all about?   This is just a start, I'm sure that others can expand and improve on what is here. But perhaps we need to start fighting the stupid and the bigoted and the greedy with the simple. And the pithy.

Originally posted to borregopass on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 06:33 AM PDT.

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