“You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” — Iman (aka Zara Mohamed Abdul Majid, Somali mother, entrepreneur, actress, model, and philanthropist, widow of David Bowie)
You don’t need me to tell you how dire the situation presently is in our country. Between the mounting Covid cases and casualty rates, the unemployment figures, and the collapsing economy, the pressure is on us like never before. It may seem odd an odd time to cite the need to accept personal responsibility for becoming more ethical, but if we don’t, things will get even worse.
Iman knows the long-term consequences firsthand. She witnessed what happened in her Somali birthplace. Instability led to thirty years of civil war. And what led to instability? Corruption. Refusing to take responsibility for ethical behavior destroys societies. Those of you who have read my memoir, The Importance of Paris, know what corruption did to the former “Paris of the Middle East,” Beirut, Lebanon. A cautionary tale for sure.
Ethical dilemma stories currently dominate US news headlines, from the recent funeral of Civil Rights leader and longtime Congressman John Lewis, to the Black Lives Matter protests, and Portland’s Wall of Moms. Those who won’t wear masks are yet another example of the refusal to accept ethical responsibilities. At the root of all this is the psychological Shadow, on full display, overshadowing common sense and decency.
I chose this photo to test your level of preparedness. It was taken recently in Portland, Oregon. Reflect upon the fact that this woman’s taxes pay that guy’s salary. Rehearse your level of ethical preparedness in private. If unidentified, camouflage-clad officers in full battle gear, emerged from unmarked minivans in your city, what would you do? Look the other way? Find excuses? Or stand up to them before it was too late? History is full of examples of what happens if citizens don’t push back against political corruption and police brutality and demand ethical accountability.
Oregon’s governor and Portland’s mayor both told this Administration to back off and remove these uninvited goons. This desperate, election year tactic is illegal. And it has backfired. Peaceful citizens, moms, military vets, journalists, and volunteer medics exercising their First Amendment rights were tear-gassed and shot at close range, with rubber bullets as the live streamed videos proved in real time.
More unrest may be on the way. People who’ve lost their jobs, and health insurance, may soon lose their homes. Meanwhile Covid rages on and the man in charge lies to us and plays golf. This woman’s photograph and Iman’s words are warnings to us all.
The Jenkins Group is taking me on as a client to help market my books. Since the memoir won the IPPY award, it was time to kick things up a notch. In next newsletter I will share more details about ongoing publicity but I want to thank so many of you for buying additional copies to give to friends. Please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads even if you only write one sentence about what you learned from reading my books. Measuring Distances has yet to get a proper launch party but we can blame Covid for that.
This month I’ll facilitate another Rhode Island book club meeting, in Providence. If your book club selects The Importance of Paris, and I cannot make it in person, I will attend via Zoom. Contact me for set up. For group discussions, see the list of questions, in the back of the memoir. If you order bulk copies for your book club I will mail them at a discount.
Several ongoing Zoom groups are meeting regularly:
Every Saturday morning 10:30 am, Westerly Writing group
Every other Wednesday evening 6pm, Book Writers group
Every Monday evening 7pm, Zoom Lodge
Next Lodge ceremony is Sunday, September 20th in honor of Autumn Equinox. See latest updates concerning any Covid restrictions on our HOPE-HOUSE Facebook page. We continue to experiment with having a limited number of regular participants doing their own rounds
Stay brave. And be safe. Defend principles not personalities.