This I Believe

Ruth - Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 16, 2008
Age Group: 65+

This I believe:

Like Anne Frank, I once believed that people are basically good. I’ve amended that and now believe that people would like to be good. I now know that forces of need, greed, anger and pain keep people from achieving the kind of life they really want.

When I was a little girl I was told my job on earth was to make the world a better place and that would come through collective action: organizing people to achieve better working conditions, a cleaner environment, better housing, better schools. I taught that to my children too. My kids didn’t eat grapes. They helped the marchers in tent city. They marched for causes. And so now, like their forebears, nobody is rich but they are all filled with hope and a belief that the future can be better. We see progress in some ways — greater rights for minorities, greater questioning of authority figures. I know there are countervailing forces: war, famine, crime, poverty and disease, here and all over the world. But, I believe still that people want to achieve social equity and economic justice. And I believe my dreams can become a reality here on earth.