Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The big picture

I believe in social justice. 
I believe in giving people a safety net.
I believe in making sure that children are fed, clothed, educated, and that ALL of their health needs should be addressed and met adequately and immediately.
I believe that there are three avenues for this: self-directed, community involved, and government assisted, and that at least two avenues must be present in some form in order to maximize success and minimize poverty.

I'm an idealist.

The big picture with this whole Mary Kay thing, and I've said this before, but I really want you to grasp what I'm trying to say. Mary Kay Ash flipped a switch in herself in 1963 and that reaction lead to people being able to maximize avenue 1 of minimizing poverty. Women all over the world, (and I'm not necessarily talking about women in the states, but I include those who have used this business to take their meager beginnings and become millionaires), have taken their income from this business and made it work for them and their families. They didn't have to resort to humiliating methods* of employ to feed their kids. Then they were able to teach other women this new thing, and it spread and eventually, they're all making an income which takes me to the second avenue.

Mary Kay builds communities. We are taught to follow the Golden Rule, and seek to enrich the lives of others. If you've never been to a Mary Kay event, the community fostered just within a unit of consultants is amazing. But we are also active in our religious institutions, schools, and other organizations that are aimed at helping our communities. Strong connections in a community (look at your faith community for example) ensure that those who have needs they can meet will be met by the community. Some people call that "collectivism", and those people are assholes. Developing a strong community is how humans have come to be the dominant species on the planet. It's in our genes, and it's in all of our religious teachings.

The third avenue, government, is a bigger, more complicated and therefore more flawed version of community. Yes, in the past (and currently) government (as well as religious institutions) have been used to control people, brainwash them and divide the populace against itself so that a few rich people can have all of the money. But just because some of the people who run the show are bad, doesn't mean the entire system is bad. I don't think that Mary Kay can change governments, but because government is (supposed to be) made up of the people, by changing the people and bringing us back to being more community oriented, most of the people will be fooled less of the time.

When we teach women to value doing the right thing (because it's right), they teach it to their children. Those children become the community and political leaders of the next generation and then change the direction a society is going. Just look at the US now: young people were taught GREED IS GOOD in the 70s and 80s, and now everyone is so focused on getting their own that they vote against their own best interests because they don't want to pay more taxes (which is another conversation all together -- I get a little wonk-ish about taxes). BUUUT, when you look back further, you see that the people who were taught to pull together as a country in the 30s and 40s, well, they put a man on the moon, and created the Great Society, producing the biggest middle class in history (up to that point).

We're not all going to agree on everything (I should hope that never happens), but there are some things we have to agree on: do the right thing because it's right, build your community, share prosperity with others, and when someone is down on their luck, help them up with one hand, and give them a book with their other. That's the big picture. You don't just change your own life. You don't just change the lives of people you know. You change the lives of people all over the world, and alter the course of human events. That's the big picture. That's why I am striving in my business and I hope that vision will help others to strive too.

*And I believe that being a sex worker so that you can feed your family is probably pretty humiliating. I'm not making a value judgment on that, or saying anything about sex workers to perform that work because they like it.

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