Rule Number One
Rule Number One
Don’t act like a dick.
When faced with a decision point, a crossroad of faith, ask yourself, “Am I being a dick?” If the answer is yes, keep thinking about alternate choices. Use the one that where you can say honestly to yourself (and that’s difficult to do), “I’m not being a dick.”
I know, there’s a golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” There’s a platinum rule, “Do unto others as they would want to be done upon.” I mean that’s not a perfect translation. The platinum rule means, treat people like they want to be treated – not necessarily like you want to be treated. Folks are different. Act accordingly.
I like that as rule number two. I won’t hold you to memorize it though (unlike rule number one). Folks are different. Act Accordingly.
Here’s the problem with a lot of our social discourse these days. We’ve forgotten the power of constructive disagreement. Our founding father’s figured it was so important that they put it into our Constitution. But first, let me talk about rules, and standard operating procedures and laws.
What’s the saying, “rules are meant to be broken.” Those old timey phrases exist for a purpose. Each old timey phrase has a person and a history and real life application and experience behind it. Rules are what Mom and Dad shackled you with. Rules are what your teachers place on the board on the first day of class (which is today – I thank you Maryland. My sullen teenager does not). Friends and family have rules, unspoken or not. Rules exist as a social contract, non-binding as long as you’re willing to suffer the social consequences.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are normally business rules, laid out from best practices. These are things that have worked best in the past. They are designed to work in current and future situations – to provide clarifying steps to take.
Here’s the thing about them both. They are not law. Rules are not hard and fast. If you talk out of turn, disobey the teacher, you get sent to the principle. If you break a promise to a friend, you may lose that confidence. If you don’t follow an SOP, you run the risk of getting fired. You can break them and not go to jail. I encourage bending of the rules if it is best for the greater good. Some rules and SOPs are wrong, dangerous and just plain stupid. When in doubt use your common sense.
In the real world, SOPs are put in place to support solely the department who creates them. Admin and HR departments do this a lot. I gotta tell ya’, these can sometimes be a roadblock. If they get in the way of completing your job, ignore them, don’t mention it to anyone. If caught, beg forgiveness, give your mea culpa and take the consequences like a grown up.
Companies have SOPs in place, friends have unwritten rules in place on how we treat each other. We ignore those all the time. We ghost friends. We don’t treat our co-workers with the proper dignity and respect that they deserve. Shit happens. We move on. We try better later. We learn pretty which friends and which go-workers treat us like we need to be treated. Those are the folks we surround ourselves with.
Then there’s law.
I’m no Constitutional scholar; I’m not a lawyer. I’m pretty sure that the Constitution covers how we should treat each other. I’m going to cover the Preamble, and Article I and IX of the Bill of Rights (that’s the first ten amendments to the Constitution – just so you know).
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (Citation: seriously, the Constitution (and Wikipedia)).
If you’ve never watched “No More Kings” and “The Great American Melting Pot,” do it now. Of all the things I need to help you with, youtubing is not one of them. I’ll wait.
*downloads video with cute baby wombat*
And back to the Preamble we go.
That’s the social law, LAW, that we all agree to and are bound by as denizens of this fair Republic. We are obligated by the Constitution to make sure that the citizens of this country are cared for.
“…promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
That’s not just fluff. That’s the law of the land. Americans lie in the cemeteries of in Normandy, Gettysburg, Okinawa for that. They didn’t die for affluent, white, men, born stateside. They died to security the blessings of liberty for everyone. That means African Americans, Polish Jews, Muslims, Democrats – everyone. They didn’t fight and die because they particularly know or like those people. It our guiding principle that everyone deserves liberty, happiness, and the comforts of this great nation. Put that in your brain right now. We all work together to give the comforts of this country to everyone – all and everyone. You’re allowed to keep your prejudices internal. You better be creating an America, defined by law, with them tucked away in your pocket. Like your concealed carry, you only pull that hatred out when you’re trying to impress your misguided inner circle or the waitress at the Hen House.
I feel that was wrong of me. I apologize to Hen House waitresses.
Next, Article I of the Bill of Rights.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Citation: You know, still the Constitution)
Every law has an act behind it that required it’s legislation. Our founding fathers knew that people had a tendency to be dicks. You are allowed to think and believe whatever you like. The thought police are this societies most dangerous enemies. But, don’t act like a jerk. You’ve been given the power of thought. Think, judge your thoughts, act or do not act. Congratulations on having the power of critical thinking. You can think like a dick; don’t act as one.
You can march for whatever cause you like, however abhorrent (but you wouldn’t do that). You also have the power to counter-march. It’s when people start burning crosses or bombing churches when the line is crossed. Support those you disagree with. That’s their right to believe, worship, assemble peaceably as they choose.
Don’t support businesses who tolerate intolerance. Do not vote for politicians who look to restrict our given religious and social freedoms. These people are dicks. You are not. The press and civil protests, we will discuss later, I promise.
Finally, here’s article IX.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Do not dare use our political system, or any social, political, religious bias to deny any rights to the citizens of this country. Keep your bias in your mind, not in my society. I know people who have died for the freedom of your beliefs. Don’t waste that.
Don’t act like a dick.