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Progressive Values Stories: Mary L Jacobs on the Golden Rule and Respect

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 The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatever unless you realize it is your move.    Frank Crane

I interviewed Mary  Jacobs in Los Angeles, California at a convention for California Democratic Clubs. At first she brought up the Golden Rule as a progressive value. She connected that to the importance of respecting all people. She told a story of how,  at the age of 9 years old, she used a bit of violence to stand up to disrespect.

Mary L Jacobs on the Golden Rule and Respect

I’m from Chicago, have lived in East L.A. for the last 30 years.  I’m a substitute teacher for the L.A. Unified School District.  I became politically active in 1987 when I had a spiritual message awakening to tell the world about nuclear annihilation. 

Progressive values are human values:  that we value human beings, life in the sense to make life easier for everybody – actually if you believe in any religion, they tell you to be good to the poor, to not steal – like the corporations steal – they tell you not to lie – let’s talk about Bush!  I mean, the corruption.  If you really want to get into the Ten Commandments.  That’s a very progressive agenda, believe it or not.

The value is how you want to be treated – the Golden Rule.  Do unto others  as you would do unto yourself.  Respect for others.  Respect for their thinking, their philosophy, religion, country, land.  You don’t let people invade your land like we did to Iraq.  Respect the rule of the Constitution, or whatever is left of our U.S. Constitution.  Respect. 

Edwin:  Did you learn an early lesson regarding respect as a value?

My father was at the kitchen table.  He did a lot of philosophizing at the table when I was six.  My sister and I were there, and my dad said “Okay, come here, Mary, come here Donna.  I want you all to put your arm out.  Come on.  Okay, you’re white.  Your Chinese.  You could be Negro.  Okay, same family, we all have different tones of skin.  We’re all one underneath.  Our blood’s the same color, and our hearts are the same, we’re human beings.  We’re all the same.  Just  my color of skin is different than yours”.

And that’s when I learned about respect.  When I was at the kitchen table with my dad, talking about skin color.

I don’t know, this is kind of an interesting respect story, but I’m not sure.  My mother and I were visiting my Polish grandmother, and she had kind of a boyfriend.  We were sort of visiting, and I didn’t like him.  His name was Mike, and she was in the living room, and suddenly he calls her “you b*tch”, and I was nine, and I went over and hit him. 

And when my grandmother died she gave me her diamond earrings.  She had three other grandchildren she could have given it too, but she gave it to me because she knew I really loved her.  And that’s respect.  Of course, it’s not exactly a peaceful thing to do, but I respected my grandmother, and no one’s going to talk to my grandmother that way.  So I hit him.

Definition of The Golden Rule

- a basic principle which should always be followed.

- a command based on Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount; 
   "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

At Wikipedia

The ethic of reciprocity or the Golden Rule is a fundamental moral value which simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated." It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights. Principal philosophers and religious figures have stated it in different ways.

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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