This I Believe

John - Buffalo, New York
Entered on September 11, 2007

“This I Believe…” I do not have any grandiose beliefs that will shake the world. I am no Nietzsche; this essay will not be another “Kantian Revolution.” My beliefs are fairly simple. I believe that people should respect other people. I believe that by choosing to live in a society, specifically our society, a person chooses a responsibility to those with whom they live. I believe that courtesy is a large part of this responsibility, so I use my turn signals.

This may not seem a groundbreaking action to take, it is no large scale human rights movement aimed at healing the sick. It is not a worldwide peace movement trying to spread peace and end wars. These are noble beliefs, but such a global scale makes them difficult to attain with “one fell swoop,” to coin a phrase. I believe that all things start small. I use my turn signals. Buy showing the courtesy to those I choose to live with on such a simple scale I believe that it may start a cascade of similar events. I allow people to pull out of driveways when the light ahead is green; I slow to allow someone to cross the street when I am going to be stopping in fifty feet anyway. I never stop my car in front of a side street or entrance, if I can help it.

I am reminded of the commercials (who knows what they are selling anymore) where a lady saves a pizza delivery boy from walking into the street in front of an oncoming car, someone sees this and in turn helps someone who is moving grab a couch as it falls, someone sees that and in turn helps a lady with her groceries, and the process continues. This is not too dissimilar a concept to that which I am attempting to proffer. I simply believe that by having enough respect for those that I live with, and if others (a majority of others) shared this respect, society would be a much more comfortable and safe place to live.

Imagine a drug dealer who actually cares about the kids that buy the drugs. Imagine some bored suburbanite kids who trash their next door neighbor’s corner store. Imagine someone driving recklessly, knowing that it was their children in the other cars on the road. These seem unlikely scenarios. A drug dealer would not sell to their nieces and nephews. Kids would not trash the store of best friend. I would not cut someone off knowing that they would let me in.

Courtesy and respect are the beginnings of such a society. If everyone respected, in some respect, the people with which they shared their lives, if they showed them courtesy, a world where people use their turn signals and it means something more than “I might be turning that way…,” this is world I am striving towards. A world where people respect each other enough not to kill; a world with enough courtesy towards itself that a sickness or an epidemic is taken seriously as costing human life, where it is not hesitated and mulled over whether help will be too costly to the capital.

It takes small steps, so I use my turn signals. This I believe.