The most important challenge facing our country is simple, yet we’ve made it complex: Leave for the next generation a better world than we inherited. We get the need to do it, but we aren’t doing enough to ensure it.
The reality is the current generation has a mixed record in securing the future for the generation to come.
On one hand, we’ve made communication instantaneous; an overwhelming majority of us can deliver or receive a message from anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. For those of us who can remember a world with rotary phones and no internet, this ability to communicate is wonderful.
In addition, our generation must be be applauded for the scientific and medical breakthroughs we’ve made. Consider only the creation of vaccines that have provided safety for millions of people from a dangerous virus and you see what amazing people have done in these areas.
But for all the good my generation has done, it remains stubbornly stuck in the past in some areas. We refuse to enact global policies that will preserve the land, air and water we must leave for our children. We do not see medical care as a right, but rather as a privilege. In large parts of the country, racism — open for anyone to see — infects people’s thinking.
And too many of us are steadfast in supporting the tired concept that there must be an existential enemy. In my lifetime, the Soviet Union, Iran, Iraq and China have been identfied as nations determined to undermine the American way of life. Whether because of their economic, political, religious or cultural beliefs, these countries provided ample opportunity for the propaganda machine to rev into overdrive, and the military-industrial complex laughed all the way to the bank.
Why our generation — living in the best nation in the world (insert sarcastic laugh here) — continues to fall for this nonsense is stunning.
The longer we continue to be hamstrung with this flawed reasoning, the more we fail to see the necessity of a shared future.
A shared future is not all that difficult to understand: It accepts that we value the similarities that exist within the world’s roughly 8 billion people and respect the few differences. In effect, a shared future honors fundamental human needs as paramount regardless of where in the world we live. Endorsing a shared future means supporting environmental efforts all across the globe. Supporting a shared future commits us to international efforts to spread goodwill. And in case you haven’t already gotten a hint, a shared future demands a significantly reduced role for the military-industrial complex.
Count me among those who support this concept. Can I count you among us, too?