Do You Have A Manifesto? An Older Adult’s Thoughts
On Living Right
As defined in meriam-webster.com, a manifesto is “a written statement
declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.” It has
Italian roots, from manifestare to manifest, originating from the Latin
Typically, a manifesto is presented in no particular order. It’s a laundry
list of proclamations that portray what an organization, group or
individual believes in no uncertain terms.
I think everyone has their own personal manifesto that we hold inside
and don’t want to necessarily release to the public in fear of sounding
overly self-righteous or of possibly being attacked by those who may
vehemently disagree with our beliefs. Nonetheless, I think it’s a great
exercise to write out your personal manifesto and add/subtract to it as
you see fit, primarily because it really gets you thinking about yourself
and your relationship to the world around you.
I’ve been working on mine for 65 years, and in the spirit of sharing, and
hopefully not sounding too self-righteous, here it is (very much still a
work in progress and should be right up until the end) below:
Many of society’s problems would be eliminated if every employer
paid their employees a livable wage, and if decent education
opportunities were more available to everyone for a low cost or for
free. When politicians say that, from a USA economic perspective,
it’s not a good idea to raise the minimum wage, don’t fall for that
line of reasoning. It’s flat out elitist and wrongheaded.
Develop a global mindset – think about the poverty-stricken that
are so prevalent worldwide and how lucky you truly are. If you can
afford to help someone who is poor, no matter where they live on
the planet, do it.
If you live in a country that does not destroy individuals who speak
freely, don’t be afraid of being a nonconformist, and don’t be afraid
of speaking your mind and sticking up for what you believe is right.
You may not have a lot of close friends with this kind of mindset,
but you will be true to yourself, which is more important than
having a lot of superficial friends.
If someone tells you that you can’t do something that you really
want to do – and it does not harm anyone – do it with pride.
I believe that the government must intervene at times. While there
is certainly bad government, there is also certainly good
Politicians should have to pass two tests – one on intelligence and
another on empathy - before being given the right to run for any
office. They should also be required to sign some kind of
contractual agreement or oath that would hold them more
accountable to the promises they make during campaigns.
Campaign contributions to any political race should be equal. In
other words, no candidate should be allowed to have a larger war
chest of campaign contributions than any of his or her opponents.
Many need to tone down the constant drive toward having more
and more and more.
Many need to eradicate the exaggerated admiration of the wealthy.
Let’s talk about what brings us together, not what divides us.
I believe in the total separation of church and state. Bringing
religion into politics will only further divide us.
Look more closely at our religious commonalities and not the
differences. All of the world’s major religions have more things in
common than differences.
Government assistance to the poor should be increased, not
lessened. Sure, there will be abuses – those who are more
fortunate, work harder, or are wealthy through birth are not
perfect either. We are all equally human, and some need more help
than others. We need more compassion for the poor and
My heart tells me that we should let anyone into our country who
wants to enter, as long as they are law-abiding citizens. Isn’t that
pretty much how our country started in the first place?
False advertising has become rampant and needs to be obliterated.
I don’t care about anyone’s sexuality, and I don’t believe anybody
should define their self by their sexuality. Marriage should be a
legal agreement between two consenting adults, regardless of sex.
Sex should be a private matter.
The corporate mindset of profits above all else, if not abated, could
be the ruin of mankind.
Parents, to their best ability, must be very actively involved in the
moral and educational growth of their children. Being actively
involved does not mean they will succeed, but it will certainly
increase the odds for success.
What you do to your mind and body is your concern and nobody
else’s – as long as you are not harming or have the potential to
harm anyone in the process. Anyone should also be allowed to end
his or her life at his or her discretion. Euthanasia should be
There are laws that must be obeyed, such as driving rules, no-
smoking rules, you can’t physically or mentally harm someone
intentionally, no stealing, respect others at all times, no fraudulent
behavior, no bullying, no slandering, do not lie, honor and obey the
golden rule, etc …
As a society I believe we need to take a good, hard look at what the
media is covering while still allowing it the freedom to publish
whatever it wants to publish. In other words, we, as individuals,
need to become more active in exposing and spreading the word
about poor and dishonest media practices.
Take care of the planet as best as you can. Keep working on
becoming a greener person.
Always challenge authority.
Have a healthy skepticism, especially when someone professes
belief in anything that cannot be proven.
Form your own belief system based on your inner self. Pay close
attention to what goes on inside your head and do not live in fear.
Develop your individual educational pathway.
Find joy in the sake of learning for its own sake.
Many of today’s drugs that are illegal and/or need a prescription
should be legalized and easy to obtain without a prescription for
everyone who is 18 or older. Additionally, if you must register for
the armed services and can then die for your country, you should
also have the right to drink alcohol, although I do not condone
taking drugs or drinking alcohol (in excess).
I have mixed feelings about abortion. In cases in which a mother’s
life is in danger, or it has been clearly determined that an unborn
fetus has serious, life-debilitating birth defects, as well as in cases
of incest or rape, it should remain legal. In cases in which the
mother simply feels that having a child would be an unwanted
burden or where she would be unable to adequately support a
newborn, then that mother, in my opinion, should seek out help
and give up a newborn for adoption. The sacredness of a healthy
heartbeat cannot be denied. That sacredness is altered under the
conditions of rape and incest, life-debilitating birth defects and
when a mother’s life is in danger.
Regarding gun ownership, my perhaps overly simple response is
that I can’t understand why anyone other than law enforcement or
the military should own or want to own automated weapons and
machine guns. The argument that we should have the right to
defend ourselves against a government takeover seems ludicrous
to me. If tanks come rolling in, your machine gun is dust. Having an
adequately locked-up shotgun or handgun in your home for
protection against possible intruders or for sport hunting (which I
don’t condone) seems to be legal enough.
There are way too many lawyers in this world who have no regard
for the difference between truly ethical behavior and truly
unethical behavior. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a solution other
than to say something needs to be done about the oversupply of
Related to the above, we are living in a post-truth era today, where
words are twisted to support falsehoods. Telling lies has become
acceptable. Somehow we need to overcome this very disturbing
development, and the only thing I can come up with is check
yourself at all times, question everything you read and hear, and
examine whether you are really thinking critically (without an ego)
when you put your support behind something.
Well, that’s it for now.
Thanks for stopping by,
“We have to
respect the faith of
people and maybe
organizations or the
groups that manifest
around it. “
- Liev Schreiber