This I Believe

Jennifer - Oak Park, Illinois
Entered on October 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope

I believe just because we haven’t, doesn’t mean we won’t. I beleive in hope and potential. I believe we can ease religious tension, contain disease, land on Mars and reign in climate change. I believe we can do what is hard, what is necessary and what is right. And I believe we must try.

The world faces immense problems, most of which loom so large they seem unsolvable. How do you really wage a war on terror? How can you really fix race relations? or AIDS? Or Hurricaines? Its easy to forget all the problems we’ve already solved.

We don’t have to worry about going months and years waiting for communication from loved ones because we have phones and email. Our grocery stores are (at least in the west) full of thousands of choices in the Dairy section alone because we’ve created refridgeration and mass transport. Smallpox is gone. We’ve mapped the human genome and created plastic and put together democracy. Our cars have air bags and seatbelts and we’ve managed to figure out how to make glases and contacts which is particularly good for me because my vision starts to blur at about six inches! We can do heart transplants and we have humane mousetraps. We have the concept of humane. We have a system of public education that, however flawed, is still a remarkable achievement.

We are inventively unique creatures, lifted by curiosity and ambition to try to improve our lives by fixing problems from the mundane to the nuclear.

I don’t know how to stop the spread of HIV, the spread of neo-natzism, or the spread of nuclear weapons. I don’t know how to cure malaria or homesickness or corruption. I don’t know how to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining our economy and I don’t know how to reduce college costs while retaining university excellence.

But at one point in human history we didn’t know how to create indoor plumbing. Or make steel. Or diagnose cancer.

Everything we now know from writing to producing radio shows we’ve had to invent, teach and learn. We may never know it all, we may never conquor disease or erradicate poverty or actually elect the best singer on American Idol.

But we should never be daunted by the vast limits of our knowledge. People have an excellent track record and I beleive, despite the dismal tone of today’s news, I beleive there is reason to be optimistic. We can do amazing things if we give ourselves the chance, this I beleive.