Exclusive excerpt from The One Idea That Saves the World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action by Laurence Overmire.
The Good People of This Earth
I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
~ Anne Frank
I believe in humanity. I believe, like Anne Frank, a young girl with so much promise who ultimately died at the hands of the Nazis in World War II, that despite all the evil we see in the world, most people are indeed truly good at heart. This is what gives me hope.
Of course, we all have our failings and resort to mean-spirited behaviors now and then. All human beings are capable of both good and evil. We all do good things and things that are not so good. We can all be petty, mean, rude, insensitive, and aggressive. But we can also be kind, generous, loving and forgiving. Few would intentionally do serious harm to others.
I disagree with those who believe human beings are inherently wicked or evil. Have you ever seen an evil child? I haven’t. I do a lot of teaching in the schools. I’ve interacted with thousands of kids and I’ve never seen an evil kindergartner, or first or second or third grader. There might be some kids who have some issues, and most kids do mean things now and then, as we all do, but they’re certainly not evil.
All I’ve ever seen in a tiny, newborn face is innocence, light, and promise. So what is it that we do in our collective dysfunction that takes that which is so positive and good and twists it into something much less?
Every child comes into this world as a gift to humanity. It is up to us, as adults, to see that they are properly taken care of and given all the love and attention they deserve. If we did so, I have no doubt our world would be drastically different and much more humane.
This is a call to conscience.
I’m disturbed by what I see going on today. Humanity seems to be regressing, not progressing.
People are attacking one another over race, religion, class, and culture. Hate and ignorance are becoming fashionable. Good faith, reason and science are all being maligned. Selfishness and greed are being promoted over human decency and the common good.
In American culture, in our politics, we’ve been cynically divided into the Red Team and the Blue Team. We’re all playing football against one another and betting on horse races in the news, but we’re not really talking to one another and, most importantly, we are not addressing the dire issues that threaten to destroy human civilization.
I have something to say about this. Hopefully, it is something that will make people stop and think, something that may persuade them to take positive action, to become the 4’s or 5’s in the poem The House is on Fire.
You see I’ve been looking for a long time for something that will bridge the differences, something that will overcome the hatred and the violence, something we all have in common that can bring us together to solve the very serious challenges that await us in the coming years.
I think I’ve found something—an idea upon which most people can agree, no matter what their background, culture or religion.
It’s an old idea, an idea that most of us have pushed aside without really considering its ramifications. It is an idea that is common to all the major religions, an idea that all good people of faith and no faith can support. It is the foundation of all ethics and morality. It has become, I believe, at this crucial juncture in human history, the one idea that can save the world.
Next installment: Sounding the Alarm.
Laurence Overmire has had a multi-faceted career as poet, author, actor, director, educator, and genealogist. As an actor, he has appeared on stage, film and television, most notably on Broadway in Amadeus, as well as the network soap operas, All My Children and Loving. His award-winning poetry has been widely published in hundreds of journals, magazines and anthologies worldwide. Known to many for his weekly segments as poet-in-residence on The Jeff Farias Show, Overmire is an advocate for peace, justice, human and animal rights, and the environment. Want to help fight the fire? Join the Bucket Brigade at: www.TheOneIdeaThatSavesTheWorld.com and on facebook.
Editor: Sarah Winner