This I Believe.
I believe that belief is the fuel of the engine of hope and it resides in all human beings. It shouldn’t take a sociologist or an expert in international relations to realize the universal truth that every man and woman on earth wants to believe that his or her next generation will be better off. One doesn’t need to travel back and forth from the third world as I do, to see this. Take an opinion poll of the Warren Buffets of the world or the man baking Nan bread in a clay oven on the street corner in Islamabad. The difference, of course, is each person’s idea of ‘upward mobility’.
Why is it then that the awareness of this fact is disappearing, if we assume that it ever existed? I believe the problem lies with the intellectuals of the world. Not so much the academics, because they are constantly challenging assumptions and pushing the boundaries of thought. The blame has to rest with the leaders who attract the attention of the masses. The business and corporate tycoons, the politicians, the religious heavy weights, media stars – the journalistic ones more than the entertainers, the generals, the kings and queens, the spies and scientists.
I believe that the consequence of ignoring, dismissing or deliberately covering up this glaring reality is the radicalization of human society. The perception of security and well being for ones family and self is almost as powerful a prescription of peace as real security and the promise of a better future. This is as applicable in Chevy Chase as it is in Caracas or Kandahar. Sadly, the real or perceived absence of security and/or hope leads the multitude, be they in Chiapas, Columbia or the heart of the Mid-West to become lambs, dutifully following the slogans of fear. I believe that the easiest rallying cry is crying wolf and it comes out of Texas sounding exactly the same as it does coming out of Tora Bora.
Where then, can the reversal of this tragic trend begin? I believe that lasting change is costly, in time, effort and tears, but it has to start at the top, literally and otherwise. Which brings me back to the intellectuals, the leaders, the movers and shakers of the world? Do you believe that there is any other place on earth that has a higher concentration of such individuals and groups than our country?
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