It does seem like we’re in a pretty confused place, no? War, depression, energy problems, global overpopulation, and rampant fundamentalism (on every side). It almost feels impossible to know where to begin. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Any one of these issues by itself could be cataclysmic. How do you decide which to respond to first, when they are so intertwined that you can’t respond to any one in isolation?
At the same time, these are all symptoms of even larger problems. For example, you’ve got to stop the economic meltdown as soon as possible, but the real issue is that we don’t make anything. Everything is done either better or cheaper somewhere else. So our economy is just a service economy—we offer each other services, from banking to law to entertainment. No wonder the stock market fell apart, it’s based on fluff!
And nobody can deny that war, energy problems, and religious fundamentalism are all deeply intertwined. They’re all related to our inability to change. I mean, really, we know that we need to move to alternative energy sources, for liberal environmental and for conservative national sovereignty issues. We need to be able to control our own energy needs, and do it in a way that is both renewable and non-detrimental to the planet we live on. This seems like one of the most obvious things we could say. And somehow we haven’t done it. Even though it’s caused us to go to war, and fomented a lot of hatred against us, we are still resistant.
So here’s my thoughts—after dealing with our current economic crisis, Obama should make our country the leading producer of alternative energy. Everyone around the world is going to need it, no one has claimed the market yet, we’ve got the space and the resource to do it, and it will enable us to drastically cut back our military presence abroad and our dependence on people who don’t particularly like us. And it’s something that conservatives and liberals can get behind.
The other issue that needs to be dealt with is the pervasive feeling of powerlessness. It feels like our overall confidence in humanity’s ability to make positive changes is at an all-time low. Corporate fraud, political corruption, genocides and religious zealotry—who are we supposed to turn to anymore? And I think the response to powerlessness is two things—apathy and violence. People either respond by turning away or by getting angry. And so while many of us in America hope change will happen, but sit back waiting for someone else to do it, many in other countries give up on the political system as a means of change and resort to violence, terrorism, and genocide. We need to feel confident in the human race’s ability to lift itself up. That we don’t always have to give in to our greed and violence, that we can participate in our own lives and the lives of those around us, and actually have the ability to make things better.
And I have no idea whether or not Obama can do it, but he caused a greater surge in hope and belief through his election than I have seen in a long time.
—Andre Mistier, ism