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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TEXAS FAITH: How do we create a common good today?

What can you do to shape the common good, or perhaps are shaping it.

Ten Panelists respond:

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" and President Obama's theme in the 2012 State of the Union -- "Government and citizens are responsible together for the common good, even as they celebrate individualism and free markets." -- completes that equation.

Indeed, welding two of the greatest statements from the last fifty years can shape the common good and uplift the American spirit from the doldrums. Each one of us is individually responsible to achieve that with the state as a mere catalyst.

One of the few things that made us a great nation is the belief in "Live and let live." It is an epitome of responsible capitalism. We have slipped away from that. Some of the Americans who made it big on Wall Street were consumed by greed and messed up the goose that gave them the golden eggs. Instead of walking away with millions in bonuses, they could have reinvested that money in keeping the jobs of fellow employees. Then they would have continued picking the Golden Eggs, kept the jobs, survived the corporations and kept the economy going.

A few among us have been misled for perceived political gains of someone else, and attack those who have made it. Instead of denigrating Mitt Romney for cashing in on his investments, we should applaud and look up to him as a model of prosperity. Isn't that the American Dream?

The biggest victim of the bad economy is our attitude. It is tearing the social fabric of America. Our belief in "live and let live" has become corrosive, and we have let a few politicians shamelessly divide us.

Together as Americans, we can restore America individually and collectively. Chief Seattle, a Native American said this perfectly, "All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the webs, he does it to himself."

We have to ask ourselves, what I am doing as an individual to maintain the harmony and cohesiveness of one nation under God with liberty and Justice for all.

We must question our politicians and the clergy who deviate from our foundational value, which is: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Isn't that ideal the one that has made us a great nation? We need to align ourselves with it. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed it so well that we must be judged by the content of our character rather than the external manifestations.

Yes, we can restore the common goodness and uplift the soul of America by asking and correcting ourselves, whenever we feel less of the other Americans regardless of their religion, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic status. The question is what have I done to preserve the cohesiveness of America?

To view all  the ten responses, please visit Dallas Morning News’s Religion Blog at:
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Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/ 
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