We need a new national motto. I have always loved the Three Musketeers’ motto, “All for One, and One for All” (unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno) because it speaks to the best of all systems: it acknowledges the importance of the collective as well as the individual, and does not put one before the other. If we were to think in these terms, we would have a much better life and system of government because everyone would be equally important and no one would be sacrificed for the good of the whole. Think about that. If we were to adopt this motto instead of the “In God We Trust”, how would our outlook, self-esteem, and behavior towards others change if we felt truly valued and indispensable! Instead of engaging in endless wars because God is “on our side” and constantly fighting for our piece of the pie, we would instead be looking out for one another, ensuring each other’s safety and well-being, and making sure each person’s needs were met. No one would be attacking Social Security, Medicare, or the commons: national parks, natural resources, a clean environment, a postal system, libraries, or single-payer healthcare. They would all be seen as human rights because we as valued citizens would be entitled to them!
There is a serious need to shift towards more pro-social values like inclusion, sharing, and cooperation vs. anti-social values like exclusion, hoarding, and competition and we would be much better off if we switched to the motto, “All for One, and One for All”, which is Switzerland’s national motto, incidentally. Switzerland, as you may know, never engages in war, doesn’t get embroiled in taking sides, is actively involved in international peace-building processes, home to the Red Cross, is one of the richest countries in the world, boasts cities with the 2nd (Zurich) and 3rd (Geneva) highest quality of life on earth, and has a direct democracy instead of a representative one. There’s a lot we could learn from Switzerland, and I think their choice of national motto is both a reflection of and a reason for the country’s success.
I would like to suggest that we all give serious thought to adopting “All for One and One for All” as a personal motto. Try it out for a week or a month, and see if it doesn’t change your outlook. I’m betting it will help you feel less isolated and alienated, more peaceful, and less stressed. I believe it epitomizes the Occupy Movement (and every populist movement) and should become the rallying cry of Occupy. Then maybe we can convince cities, communities, and eventually the country to consider endorsing it, and then it could become an international campaign. All for One and One for All!