FROM MY CORNER
Ansel Adams, the renowned Yosemite photographer, once said: “To be American is to respect the wilderness.” To update Mr. Adams, I believe Americans now demanding a broad range of social justice indicate that, “To be American is to respect ourselves.”
This includes all our own poor plus the millions of immigrants worldwide in grave danger from all the political and corporate leaders of the world, still myopically addicted to war. In this militarized digital age, we have diverted attention from our most basic human condition: that the human race exists tentatively, has always been, and is, an endangered species.
If we people are eventually to rise above our self-centered destructive nature, if we as a race are literally to prevail, each of us needs to seriously consider our personal incentive for living our brief lives.
We in the West have created a cultural norm envisioning our lives as devoted, of necessity we believe, to our individual selves: to the I, to the Me. Our goal narrowly focuses on how to keep Me alive. How to enrich and safeguard Myself. Seldom do we consider the We.
We do not consciously design our individual lives with the thought in mind to contribute to the long-range objective of nurturing the entire human race. This is a grave philosophical error. It produces tangible destructive earthly consequences.
Every country has its destitute. We certainly have our share. Worldwide, literally millions of war-displaced refugees languish. While the defense wealthy thrive beside these profit-produced homeless war victims, the poor lead horrific lives.
Various religious, and often rich, leaders assert that gods decree the poor simply to be part of the overall cosmic scheme. We, theoretically believing in these gods, accept this dubious idea as we each scratch our way toward our own I/Me-oriented goals.
As we have so easily bought into this acceptance of poverty, we can as well decide to buy into an entirely different self-created idea. The concept would be that if we people each embraced the common goal of our collective survival, we would be better served both individually and as the planet-wide race of human beings.
Biologically, we people with all our faults are potentially the most vital living creatures on earth. If our species is to avoid extinction and enjoy a long future, it behooves us to realize that right between our ears is the organ, which – if we will use it! –can dispatch our self-endangered, club-footed stumbling.
How is it that we Americans cannot think clearly enough to cut through the insipidly shallow attitudes of our elected leaders, and the short-term profit-based blindness of corporate leaders, to craft a rational means of including all citizens in the wealth of our country?
Why can we not create a balance of capitalism with socially supportive economic programs that, thereby, share with all Americans available work and income? This is not brain surgery or rocket science. This requires only self-protective common sense, basic math, and hard work to break us out of our luxury-addicted, shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot society.
An intriguing concept of establishing an assured minimum income for all citizens has long been simmering in America. It is actually now beginning to be discussed in media. Every one of us would gain from such a policy. The poor could finally afford education and job training. Much-needed new skilled American workers would be created.
Further, if – instead of building walls – we proactively invited all poor and homeless refuges to our shores,** our corporations could invest their massive accumulated, and largely un-taxed, profits in creating small, low-cost work villages far away from crowded cities, in now sparsely-inhabited rural areas.
America could through this initiative provide jobs to millions and become the most highly-competitive low-cost manufacturing center of the planet! The small villages could also begin to help take care of the local environment.
If anything about America was ever a no brainer, this is it. Voting for the entire human race, by efficiently utilizing vast unused reaches of our own giant country in a well-designed, work-and-income-sharing program, is so obvious it astounds that we have not considered it.
What it is going to take to wake up Americans from our paralyzing, self-imposed intellectual slumber? (Or is it a nightmare?)
** Which, I believe, it says on the Statue of Liberty.