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The Christmas Hope: A To-Do List for a Better World

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/22/14

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As a child, my Christmas wish list came right out of the Sears and Roebuck catalogue--toys, board games, bikes, action figures, etc. My parents, like so many in their day, belonged to the working-class poor, so while I never lacked for the necessities of life, many of the items on my wish list never came to be. Even so, I was no worse off for it.

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I wish the same could be said of those still unfulfilled items on my adult Christmas wish list. Each year, I wish for the same things--an end to war, poverty, hunger, violence and disease--and each year, I find the world relatively unchanged. Millions continue to die every year, casualties of a world that places greater value on war machines and profit margins than human life.

I've seen enough of the world in my 68 years to know that wishing is not enough. We need to be doing. It's not possible to solve all of the world's problems right away. For most people, putting an end to world hunger, poverty, disease and the police state may seem too insurmountable a task to even tackle. But as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, there are practical steps each of us can take to move things in the right direction. Here's what I would suggest for a start:

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Tone down the partisan rhetoric, the "us" vs. "them" mentality. Instead of wasting time and resources on political infighting, which gets us nowhere, it's time Americans learned to work together to solve the problems before us. The best place to start is in your own communities, neighbor to neighbor.

Turn off the TV and tune into what's happening in your family, in your community and your world. Whatever you do, reduce your intake of mindless television and entertainment news. The only reality programming worth taking notice of is the one playing in your home and community.

Show compassion to those in need, be kind to those around you, forgive those who have wronged you, and teach your children to do the same. As author Robert Heinlein observed, "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot..."

Talk less, listen more. Take less, and give more. If people spent less time dwelling on and attending to their own needs and more time trying to help and understand those around them, many of the problems we currently face could be eliminated.

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Stop acting entitled and start being empowered. We have moved into the Age of Entitlement, where more and more people feel entitled to certain benefits without having to work for them. There's nothing wrong with helping those less fortunate, but as my parents taught me, there's a lot to be said for an honest day's work.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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