I watched President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. Filled with hope for the future of our country and all its citizens, the speech included a focus on the necessity of a quality education for every citizen, the foundation upon which the success of all countries depend. Is there no way for every person in America to be well-educated? Isn’t it far better for the people of a country and the nation itself to have a skilled, dynamic and inspired population? If being the ‘land of opportunity’ is important and those in power shifted their attitudes on this one subject alone, most of the tax revenues we now spend on law enforcement and the justice system could be diverted to education and innovation.
Innovation. We are capable of so much more as individuals and as a whole. Why not, as the president suggested, embrace the technologies of our times and shift how we think and act, replacing the old ways with the new? We moved from walking to traveling horseback, to horses pulling buggies, to wheeled vehicles requiring an energy source to go. We chose oil–ignorant back then of the damage it could do, but we certainly aren’t any longer. Today, we have other choices–renewable resources. We moved from individuals planting, hammering and hauling to production lines in huge, spewing factories. We built big houses in sprawling neighborhoods without town squares and lost touch with each other. We polluted the air and water and got greedy, as if profits should be the purpose of our lives, as if it is okay to leave a path of ruin behind us.
We are human beings who lost our way and practice sleight of hand to cover up what we do. We have a real opportunity now to shift to a new way of thinking and being, a compassionate, expansive, and inclusive way of living that values, honors, not only every single person in our country and the world, but our life-sustaining Mother Earth and all that lives upon her.
We all know change is hard, but that is not good enough anymore. It is just an excuse. It is time to figure out how to respect and make peace with each other. With sincerity, we can do this.