I’ve just finished reading “The New Jim Crow.” First, I do not enjoy reading books like this one. Not because of what it has to say, I already know that stuff, but because it brings my energy way down. The focus of these books is always that we need to “do” something to “fix” the situation. However, the thing I really understand is there is no answer other than Love for how to fix all the situations in the world.
Recently, I read that the UN has a desire to change the idea of pursuing GNP (Gross National Product) to pursuing GNH (Gross National Happiness). Bhutan’s development policy is Gross National Happiness. You can read about the philosophy here: http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/. This is the direction we all need to go. We need to embrace the idea of the value and worthiness of every human being. There must be no exclusions based on conceived differences, past history, way of thinking, or any other currently divisive way of thinking.
If we approach our lives from Love, we must understand that everything people do, which is not based in Love, is a cry for help. People feel damaged, unworthy, have low self-esteem, and many other things which all say the same thing; they are hungry for Love. We must find a way to instill value in each individual so we can build a strength among us all based in Love.
As for the book, “The New Jim Crow,” I think we must begin by recognizing prisons do nothing worthwhile. Other countries have found ways to reduce their prison populations (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/sweden-closes-prisons-number-inmates-plummets). Rehabilitation is part of the answer. I’m sure there are other answers. However, we have to start somewhere. In our current system, we not only imprison people but we keep them imprisoned, once they are released, by denying food, housing, voting rights, and employment to them. These 4 items plus clothing are rights every person should have regardless of how they have lived their lives. Former inmates are not the only people punished. The other large group our country punishes are people who are impoverished. 47% of our country’s population lives below the poverty line. How can a country that prides itself on being the greatest country in the world allow this sort of situation to exist?
I know there is much to do. I also know it starts with each individual finding their Inner Light and source of Love. If we can each find the Love within us, that is secure and able to see the light in all beings, then the process of extending this Love to everyone around us will become easy and rapidly change the way we see and live in this world.
I wish us luck in the endeavor I see before us. I hope to contribute to helping others embrace the Love within.