The cynic in me wants to say how awful things are and to rail against anything and everyone that doesn't agree with me. But, if I did that, I'd be just like everyone else :-)
Seriously though, I know that it doesn't value me or effect positive change to only bitch and moan. So what will I say?
I've made the statement before, that for me personally, this president, President Obama, is the first president we've had in my lifetime that I can honestly say I am proud of. He is a well spoken, well educated man who acts from genuine desire to do good. And the list of accomplishments during his presidency are remarkable.
However, in the wake of his immigration speech last evening, I want more. We are 'doing' too little. We are doing too little to correct our course and return to a nation that truly deserves the moniker "Land of the free".
My Top Three
I believe we have only scratched the surface on some key social concerns, and I wish a) we had done more, and b) we would do more. These issues are what inform my voting and limited activism.
The end of 'Don't ask, Don't tell' was a great start and ended an era of pointless shaming into silence men and women serving in the military. The court findings regarding the unconstitutionality of the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' have been a very positive step in improving the lives of lgbt Americans. It has been very inspiring to hear our President talk so positively about the lgbt community. What a contrast to the silence of the Regan era.
But so much more needs to be done. We are still so far behind others in the world, on an issue that we should be leading. We should have federal protections against discrimination, and federal support of marriage equality.
This one is easy. The pay for service model must change. We need to adopt a health care system like our European cousins that compensates care providers for care, but also for preventative care. And if you are awash with crazy notions about how bad things are in Canada or the U.K. when it comes to health care, then read my recommendation below regarding turning off the boob tube.
And I can hear folks already saying, "But how will we pay for it?!?" I'd much rather my tax money went to our health care, education, and infrastructure (power grid, roads, bridges...) than nonsense wars on concepts.
This is a tough one. My experiences traveling all over this country, and traveling to other countries, have given me a hopeful and positive outlook on 'us' as a species. We have done, and continue to do some remarkable things. But one thing we don't do well is managing the ego.
Try this experiment. Let your mind picture various places and people around the world, and then ask yourself if your vision or your ideas are even remotely accurate. Chances are, no. We have been so trained to think of ourselves as superior and better than everyone else, that we often can't see other countries and other people as equals. That's not only pathetic, it's tragic.
I could throw quotes here, like:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...
Or the wonderful Emma Lazarus poem at the feet of the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Such beautiful and ego-free sentiments are easy to find and easy to spout, but to prevent these grand notions from becoming nothing more than cliché, we must embrace all of our fellow humans as one family, one people, all desiring and deserving of our compassion.
My Top One
We, as a collective people, are loosing our ability to hear from the heart. I know this is a very hippie thing to say, but my very unscientific observation is we are becoming cold, hard, egocentric, and small as a people. We seem to be loosing our ability to empathize, or even recognize another human being as equal to us.
Why do I say that? Well, several reasons, everything from traffic patterns to crimes in schools.
If I'm so smart, what do I think the solution is?
I have no idea! But I do know one thing that will reap immediate rewards:
Turn off the news!
And no, I'm not just talking about Fox 'News'. I'm talking about all of it. How can you feel your own heart or think you own thoughts if you are constantly filled with the sensationalist dreck that spews from every open talking head mouth these days?
Garbage in -> Garbage out
Turn off the garbage going in. I promise, you'll feel happier and better about your fellow man, and ironically, you will become better informed.