I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, “Please – a little less love, and a little more common decency.” Kurt Vonnegut in the Prologue to Slapstick
Vonnegut’s novel is about the story of the last President of the United States and it’s kind of ridiculous, but – on this inauguration day – I was thinking about common decency.
Imagine if we treated The Other with common decency. Forget about “love.” Figuring out how to love others is confusing sometimes. (Tough love? Sacrificial love? True love?)
What about mere common decency for the other political party, the other races, the other nations, the other sexual orientations, the other classes, the other faiths? Or – even better – what if we who claim to be followers of Jesus aimed for uncommon decency?
The One we aspire to follow touched the untouchable, spoke with the unspeakably estranged, and forgiving the unforgivable. He showed uncommon decency.
I would like to imagine the United States being the nation – perhaps the only nation – that shows uncommon decency to others: no torture, no political blackmail, no cruelty to enemies. Yes, this is a simplistic way to look at global governing, but I have a dream.