Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rebuilding America And Her Dreams And Promises

 Rebuilding America And Her Dreams And Promises 

By Kyle Leach

This post was precipitated by the created crisis of the American debt ceiling debate. The debt ceiling is raised to cover outstanding debts already created by our national congress and the financial obligations of those debts. It does not have anything to do with creating spending initiatives or adding to our financial commitments, other than the interest that accrues over time on the money we have borrowed to pay our obligations. There is no need for this crisis created by conservative lawmakers as a political ploy. The debt ceiling in the past has been raised dozens and dozens of times in my lifetime, by both Republicans and Democrats, because doing so is simply agreeing to pay our outstanding debts. I also felt I needed to write this piece because of the ongoing refusal of conservatives to address important, pressing issues like meaningful employment for the bulk our people, long term technological, communication, manufacturing, and infrastructure initiatives for our nation, and the lack of interest in the health and resiliency of our national social programs.

Most people I see each day seem to be burdened by the weight of America's future and the choices that we as a nation must face. We have a staggering national debt and very few prospects for crating economic growth with the wealthiest Americans paying lower taxes, sheltering their income and investments, and choosing to horde their money or invest it outside the country. Our citizens feel disconnected from one another and distracted by meaningless idols, and to some degree out of the political and social loop. Many feel that they don't have the ability to understand the complexities of our system and feel powerless to do anything about their lives and hence their futures. These feelings are an illusion and were installed to keep our populace docile and malleable. They have been perpetuated by greedy, self absorbed  mongrels and to some degree by each and every one of us. It pains me to say this, but America is facing an identity crisis and needs to remember who she is. It is time to look in the mirror and see who we are and realize who she is supposed to be. The following paragraphs are a loose collection thoughts to get us back to knowing ourselves and remembering what makes our country great.

-In ordinary conversation you often hear about states rights and that we should focus on being a loose confederation of autonomous nation states. Nothing could be more ridiculous. A strong centralized government is one of the broad cornerstones that stabilizes our civilization. We could have chosen to be a loose band of nation states two-hundred and thirty-five years ago, but we did not. We chose to build a framework for a strong federal government around a strong national constitution. Each state mimicked the national model and built its' constitution keeping in mind that they must yield authority on the highest measures to the federal government. We each have individual rights, but they only extend as far as where others' rights start. We are a society, with a shared fate, not a independent network of marauders focused on the next raid. The needs of the many have to outweigh the needs of the few for our republic to sustain itself.

-Social and economic disparities have always existed in our society, as they have for all civilizations on the planet thus far, but our nation took a bold stand in the last century to rectify some of the most common disparities to better our nation and help our citizens. We could have been complacent and allowed those previous divisions to continue, but we did not. We rose up and demanded public education, gender equity, racial and sexual equality, workers rights, GLBTQ inclusion, cultural and religious diversity, and protection for our youngest and our oldest, and for those who have mental and physical challenges. We made a decision to reinforce our infrastructure, create jobs for our people, and make sure that our military personnel were well cared for while serving and that vets and their families were taken care of afterward. Those that profited from the labors of our citizens had to pay their fair share to ensure that economic and social civility prevailed and those profits were not to be so excessive that they hurt our society. Those are the seeds we planted in the last century and that landscape was meant to expand and thrive, not to die a slow tortured death. Not only are the divisions supposed to become transparent, but we are supposed to think globally, universally. That will create jobs, create growth, and create partnerships so that we don't have to go everything alone in the future. We wanted the world to be at our side, we wanted partners. We are all connected in one way or another. If you forget that, you forget all of our history.

-Altruism by those with the most wealth and power isn't dead, but it does seem to be resting.  There are some with wealth and power that are noble and brave and full of compassion, at least sixty of them are leaving the world a legacy that will eventually help billions around the globe. Unfortunately, among the wealthy and powerful they are a minority. Too much wealth and power is concentrated with a tiny group of individuals and those people, for the most part, care nothing for anyone else, unless they can take something from those citizens. In my life corporations have done as they please and think nothing of nations or laws or consequences. The affluent use everyone else in society, take their labor and lives, and toss them away when it is convenient. In the best of times we have kept them in check by limiting their influence, regulating their business, taxing their vast income and holdings to sustain society, and kept a very close eye on them. They often profess the corruption and exploitation of the system by common people, but they are just as prone to those maladies and just as frequently work against our society, often with more destructive repercussions, than if a million common people did the same thing. Dealing with our broken system of wealth and power distribution and eliminating exploitation of our social systems is imperative if our economy is to thrive, create long term employment that is sustainable, and rebuild our aging infrastructure and our massively unattended social programs.


-We took our natural environment for granted for two centuries, mainly because we stopped living close to nature and other living things. Much of that was not malice, but  a lack of understanding and an outmoded way of thinking that was hard to shake off. We really came to believe that resources were endless and that we were the master of all that we could see. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether it is oil, or water,  food, resources are finite. Those are the conditions of our natural world. As far as being master, well it must have been a comforting thought, but in reality we are just a small part of a very intricate interdependent web that can't be seen. Everything we do has consequences on the natural world, every choice we make can make our existence easier of make it harder. If we can keep the natural world fairly balanced we could happily be here on Earth until the sun grows dim. Make the wrong choices and the entire planet languishes in suffering and much of the world goes extinct. Thankfully, we have the intellect and compassion to make the right choices and invest in a future bonded to our environment. The symbiosis can restore the Earth, create jobs and energy independence for our citizens, and provide a legacy that allows us to go to the stars.We all know we can't be cavalier forever; we all have to grow up sometime. This is the only way we can survive in a future that will demand a careful balance of environmental sustainability and vast innovation in math, science, and technology .


-Programs which enrich our community and invest in making us better human beings are constantly under fire for various reasons, but are the most important to our future if we are to be a working republic worthy of respect and dignity. Programs like public education, medicare, social security, veterans benefits, public healthcare, law enforcement, social services, and the space program hold a society together and foster compassion, civility, and problem solving. They make an informed electorate and a competent, competitive workforce, and make us strive for new concepts and methods and imaginative solutions. They provide a contract that provides us with a sense of security and cloaks us in a mutual respect and admiration for one another. We have to take care of each other; we need each other. Each of these is a key to unlock untold potential in humanity. They push us to be better people and therefore push us to be more active, involved citizens.What republic wouldn't benefit from that?


With these thoughts in mind, it is obvious that conservative austerity and restrictive thought and inaction won't help our country in the future and their outdated ideology won't help our people now. In order for our country to be relevant in this century, keep a place in the world economy, and keep our citizens working, living, and dreaming, we need to be altruistic and inclusive. We need to protect our natural surroundings and learn to value and take care each other. We need a strong central government that crushes financial exploitation of citizens, pushes for a modern economic model, that invests in citizens, not corporations, and provides challenging work for all our people. We the people. It is all about those three very important words. They define America and her collective dream of hope and prosperity. That's the modern American spirit, giving all we can, giving to everyone we can, and planning for a bright future for all of us.


Dalai Lama Appearance





The best thing about this clip isn't the appearance, but what happens around  2:38. Watching the Dalai Lama console a wounded soul. Seeing how much he cares for someone he doesn't even know is a revealing character trait and one of the reasons Buddhism is one of my spiritual temples.