This I Believe

Quincy - Fort Worth, Texas
Entered on May 8, 2008

The world in which we live today is unique. Never has there been a time in history when the exchange of information between nations or cultures could occur so quickly and easily. These lines of communication have served to expose interested Americans to the levels of poverty, social injustice and political corruption that people around the globe live with on a daily basis. Those who are interested might notice that, in many cases, our own nation is being, either rightly or wrongly, implicated in these international injustices. Indeed, it seems that within nations all around the globe there is a growing anti-American sentiment. We find more and more organized opposition to American political and economic foreign policy. From alliances between affected governments to militant social activist organizations, many seem intent on fighting to see what they feel are injustices corrected, by any means necessary. There is a sense of intense desperation that has given rise to extreme acts of violence on American soil and abroad. I believe that Americans can no longer afford to remain disengaged with the greater global community. Advanced communications is the nervous system that has connected the entire world body. If there is any part of this body that is injured, the whole body is made aware of that pain, and may suffer from a variety of signs and symptoms of this dis-ease.

I believe it is pertinent that we redefine community in a way that includes but transcends physical location, for being in close physical proximity is no longer required for us to commune with one another. The information pathways extend the globe, and information is being freely shared, but what is now necessary is the cultural sensitivity that enables all parties to better understand each others perspectives. Viewing the world through lenses colored by the culture of your own ethnicity, race or physical location is a mistake that can and has had very dire consequences. Our only hope is to begin to recognize and respect the cultural values of others, so that we may peacefully coexist.

Americans cannot wait for our government to solve this problem when it is a problem of the hearts and minds of the people. The responsibility to bridge this gap has to be taken personally by each and every citizen, if we ever hope to see this improvement reflected in our government’s policies and actions. I believe it is my responsibility to understand what is going on in the world in which I live, to the degree that I am capable of holding my government and others accountable for their actions. I must, as a citizen, as a father, as an educator of future generations, do my best to help my fellow Americans accomplish this transition into a world which we cannot claim to understand completely. This transition into the unknown requires, most of all, open hearts and minds. This openness allows room for what is to be, and room to grow for what is to come. In this openness, I must reexamine and redefine what it means to be an American to include this ever deepening relationship with the citizens of other nations. I feel that this cannot be enforced but must be understood through personal reflection and lived from the basis of that newly gained understanding. The more we see our fellow Americans positively engaged in the global community, the more attractive and natural it may become for all of us. This is my vision. This I believe.