Finding the balance between apparently opposing values is challenging. Between environment and profit or convenience. Between public safety and well-regulated firearms. Between personal freedom and common good. One candidate for Washington governor says, “Put the info out to the citizens. Let free individuals decide what’s best for themselves, their families and friends.” This assertion doesn’t hold space for what’s best for the community beyond that inner circle. When we take that stance, sometimes militantly, we often ignore or minimize the negative impacts our actions can have on others.
We may assert our right to shun wearing a mask. We may brandish weapons at a public rally, or let yard chemicals escape into the waterways, or set off fireworks, or leave our parked car idling for the A/C. But each of those actions, along with countless others, has built-in potential for harm. Our freedom to swing our fist ends where another’s nose begins.
In every decision, you and I have a responsibility to temper the exercise of our individual rights with fiercely honoring the rights of everyone else to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, on a healthy planet. Always, think outside the circle.