Thursday, January 05, 2017

Eastern Iowa's Declaration of Human Rights

Note: Each year around January 1 The Gazette calls upon its "Writers Circle" for brief pieces regarding the year to come. What follows was my contribution to "Writers Circle: Our Resolutions for 2017."

Focus on Our Common Values

Nicholas Johnson

The Gazette, January 1, 2017, p. D2

The prefix, “comm,” has been around for 700 years: “communication,” “the commons,” a “commune,” “communitarian,” “communal” – and “community.” My column in this space last year focused on the role of communications in defining and building a community.

This year’s focus is on our common values; the standards we want for all.

A couple weeks ago, in a play based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, I played Mr. Fezziwig – a jolly employer with communal values, in stark contrast to their absence in Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a contrast, alas, that persists 170 years later.

Eastern Iowa, and this newspaper, are blessed with a good many Fezziwigs. My suggestion for 2017 is that we come together in the spirit of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights to draft our own (see especially Articles 25 and 26 – look it up).

What do we wish for all who live among us? We are all in need of something. Even the well-educated wealthy can suffer disabilities or addictions. But what can we do for those with less income, new immigrants, recently released prisoners, homeless veterans, or those with jobs but no reliable transportation?

A “community” should know, and implement, the answers.

# # #

No comments: