On this, my first Father’s Day, I write to tell you about the love and principles that guided my life and my decisions when I spent six years in Sacramento as a member of the Assembly fighting for our environment.
When I was 17, I swore and oath to God to do all I could to protect this community both for those who are in the community and its environment now and in future generations. Someone might understandably criticize this earnestness and presumption, but I can tell you that I had so much empathy that the pain and struggle of other life, human and animal, was ever present and real to me! I also learned that true leadership was taking care of the long term. The Iroquois put it in this way, that we should be making decisions thinking about their effects seven generations into the future. The original language was:
In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion. Cast not over your shoulder behind you the warnings of the nephews and nieces should they chide you for any error or wrong you may do, but return to the way of the Great Law which is just and right. Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation.
I have tried to use these words to guide my decisions in environmental policy, for climate change, for policy relating to the use of the resources in our natural world; but also my decisions in all other areas of my life. And, I hope your mother and I are able to structure a home and an upbringing for which this is one of the principle foundations.
There are many paths to Truth, but regardless of your faith or ideology, one truth is above all else: Life must continue. What good are beliefs if there is no one left to believe in them? And for life, like any system’s resiliency, its diversity must be maintained. Any assault on the diversity of life is ultimately an assault on all life, including human life.
I love you,