It’s a new year. We’ve all made (and perhaps broken) a few New Year’s resolutions. Oh well. The commitments we make to ourselves and stick with rarely follow a calendar. They follow emotion. We feel strongly about something and we do it. We do it not just once, but repeatedly.
That behavior becomes a habit and changes our lives, usually for the better. That’s a resolution and usually involves one person: you or me.
Let’s talk now about a revolution. A revolution usually involves a group of people who want to bring about social or political change. Sometimes they do this violently and suddenly; sometimes it happens peacefully; sometimes it happens over time. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable until it’s almost passed.
Our history books are full of examples. Our society benefits from revolutions, large and small, that become the “new normal” for the way people behave and what they view as acceptable. In the United States, we don’t enslave people anymore. We allow women the right to vote. We can all sit at the same lunch counter now, regardless of our skin color.
Abolitionists, suffragettes, and civil rights activists had to work and protest long and hard for the rights that we now view as obvious, decent, common sense policy. The thing that these people shared was a vision of a better society and a willingness to work in order to make that vision a reality.
I’d like to propose a new revolution: a Khaki Revolution, based on values. I detail these values in The Old Money Book. I think we can all agree that they’re beneficial for the individuals and families who adopt them.
I chose the term “Khaki Revolution” because the pants are traditional,versatile, and timeless, and because they’re a staple of the Old Money wardrobe and some would say, the Old Money life.
To start this revolution, we’re going to need to commit ourselves to these Core Values. We can’t credibly promote something that we don’t embody. Second, we need to communicate and instill these values in our children. Third, we need to encourage others to consider adopting these values for the good of society.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably doing the first two. For the third, my only request is this: if you would, please forward this blog link to ten friends who you think would enjoy reading it. If you’re not comfortable doing that, don’t do it.
But if you think some people you know would get on board with the Khaki Revolution, embrace these values, and help us quietly but surely make the world a better place, I would greatly appreciate the help.
Now, what are we going to get from making an effort to subtly (and perhaps slowly) change the way people think and act?
Selfishly, we’re going to a better quality of life for ourselves. We’re going to feel better about ourselves. We’re going to experience a contentment that includes (but goes beyond) financial security. We’re going to have a greater sense of ourselves, based on our beliefs. Our choices that stem from those beliefs will be conscious ones, and the results we get from those choices will be ours to enjoy.
We’re going to get children who grow up with the awareness that education is important; that being different isn’t being wrong or inferior; that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it; that work has value; that things take time; that information and wisdom are two very different things: one is now very accessible, the other has always been elusive.
We’re going to get companies that don’t prioritize profit above all, but see a double bottom line: profit, and social good. Companies who treat their workers fairly, who minimize their environmental impact, who give back to the customers and communities that support them.
We’re going to get representatives who run for office because they want to serve, not because they want to prosper. We’ll get elected officials who raise campaign funds from working people, not from corporations, “dark money” organizations, and SuperPacs. We’ll have a government composed of men and women who may disagree on issues and policy, but will work to compromise for the overall good, and implement fair laws and regulations that benefit everyone, not just the rich and powerful.
And from all this, we’re going to get a country that, as good as it is today, will be better. We’ll offer better educational opportunities. We’ll offer better healthcare. We’ll be more circumspect as to how and when we send our troops into battle. We’ll treat our veterans with the consideration and respect they deserve. We’ll regulate industry and commerce more fairly.
And when refugees overseas flee some war-torn country in order to survive, we’ll remember the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” we’ll remember that we are largely a nation of immigrants, and welcome them with open arms.
If we don’t promote and preserve the Core Values that people have always held dear, no amount of economic prosperity can save us. If we cherish and share these values, no amount of adversity can keep us down.