Society could benefit from this set of rules

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 9/4/20

As a civilized society — although when I see the news lately I’m starting to wonder — our nation has all kinds of laws, rules and regulations (or “regs”).

Some are asinine and/or …

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Society could benefit from this set of rules

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Posted

As a civilized society — although when I see the news lately I’m starting to wonder — our nation has all kinds of laws, rules and regulations (or “regs”).

Some are asinine and/or completely foolish — at least to me. For instance, the Internal Revenue Tax Code for pastors, which applies to part of my life, is a booklet about four inches thick. By contrast, the Gettysburg Address soars to great heights with just 270 words.

I imagine the contents of the tax code and other laws and rules and regs are like many laws passed by Congress such as the one some months ago, when the Speaker of the House chided other members to get “the bill passed so we can read it.” I may be old and have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I thought you read those things before they became the law of the land.

Others laws and rules and regs, by comparison, are either, as my late wise father said, “fair to middling” or quite helpful. Personally, I’m glad it’s unlawful to rob, steal, kill or otherwise create mayhem, although there doesn’t seem to be an overabundance of enforcement of those in some parts lately. And, of course, there are rules, regs, and laws at all levels. It’s not a federal violation, for instance, to dump trash alongside N.C. Hwy. 751 or the Pittsboro-Goldston Road, but local folks take offense to such behavior.

To me, the bottom line is if mankind would treat his or her fellow creature with a little more of the milk of human kindness, there would be little or no need for a tractor-trailer load of “do this” or “don’t do that.” That’s where Biblical admonitions that we call “the Golden Rule” of “treating other folks like you want to be treated” or the Ten Commandments — not the Ten Good Ideas or the Ten Suggestions — engraved boldly over the U.S. Supreme Court building in D.C. comes in.

I’ve been a big fan of the Golden Rule for years, thanks to my mama. The cynical part of me does admit that there could be a problem if someone really wanted you to beat the tar out of them and so they treated you that way. Deep down inside, though, I don’t think most folks are like that but someone could be. So I think maybe we ought to amp up that idea and operate under the norm of “do unto others better than you’d like to be done to.” Wouldn’t it be a hoot if everyone acted that way?

I’m also pretty sure the Ten Commandments have been around long enough and have enough of a track record to prove their worth — if we’d just pay attention to them. And there are some “natural” laws that still are in effect. I did not make a career of physics, didn’t even expose myself to it at ol’ Pittsboro High School, especially since the other class at that hour was “advanced phys ed,” but I do understand that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, such as two cars at the stop sign at the same time. When that happens, we call it a “wreck.”

That brings me to a point that rules, regs and laws keep our society from completely falling apart, and I still have hope and faith that won’t happen just yet.. But I still say if our hearts were bit more as they should be, we could all do better. Not so long ago a friend gave me a list of what she called “Golden Rules for Living.” Consider these if you will:

• If you open it, close it.

• If you turn it on, turn it off.

• If you unlock it, lock it.

• If you move it, put it back.

• If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.

• If you borrow it, return it.

• If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.

• If you use it, take care of it.

• If you break it, admit it.

• If you can’t fix it, call someone who can.

• If you mess it up, clean it up.

• If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

Could it be that if we lived by those rules we’d need fewer rules?

I think maybe so. You?

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