I believe we are all citizens of the world. While a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Korea during the early 1970s, I remember reading that Socrates once said, “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” If Socrates knew this was important more than two millennia ago, why does humankind today not realize this?
Most of us in this country are Americans by an accident of birth. If we had been born in Papua New Guinea, we’d be proud Papua New Guineans. If I had been born a couple of hundred yards to the south of the Detroit hospital I was born in, I’d be a Canadian and most likely proud of it. Yet often the Americans who beat their chests, brag of their patriotism and spout jingoistic phrases are the very same Americans who are most willing to trample on their fellow Americans’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and religion. I believe we should be humble, not proud. I believe that we should be very thankful that we were born Americans, but the archaic, anachronistic nationalism of the past should be buried.
This planet is too small for us not to be citizens of the world. The problems facing humankind demand global answers. As we are now caught up in a global ideological struggle, citizens of the world must insist that all nations and all people follow the same international laws. We citizens of the world must insist upon freedom and justice for all.
The United States should be adhering to all international agreements, instead of flaunting international laws as if they do not apply because we are the strongest country on the planet. To win the ideological struggle against the radical Islamic terrorists, who have perverted their religion, the United States must show that modern, civilized people and nations believe in justice on a global scale.
Citizens of the world, we must unite. Pearl S. Buck in 1967 said, “Today to dream of nationalism is obsolete. The whole struggle is between this old, dead nationalism and the new concept of the world community.” She, like Socrates, was ahead of her time, but in the 2lst century we must create a free, just and peaceful planet. This I believe and it can happen if we all believe.
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