--by Mike Adams
On November 4th, 2008, after working late, I returned home, went upstairs to say good night to my sleeping three year old son. I knelt by his bed, looked at his little face, kissed his cheek, straightened out his blankets, and began to imagine the possibilities that would be available to him in life. It occurred to me that because of this day’s events, my little Native American boy would grow up in a different kind of world than what I had inherited.
I reflected that my son’s first memory of a US President would be of Barack Obama, an African American. I swelled with pride for my country as the significance of that reality seeped into my being. I felt personally uplifted, because despite years of cynicism, I knew that if my little dark skinned, Native American son ever wants to grow up and become President, it is now a real possibility. Over the next few days, I became increasingly aware that this generation more than any other will grow into adulthood having a broader and more inclusive understanding of who can share American values and who can share in the American dream with all of its possibilities.
Within days, my enthusiasm was blunted slightly by dour news of our economy, unemployment soared to six and a half percent, The DOW fell six hundred points, property values continued to plummet, our auto industry was in collapse, local and state governments were insolvent. Whimsically, I considered whether Republicans had intentionally lost the election so as to avoid dealing with their mess. I chuckled at the notion that now they could blame this all on “The Left.”
Later, while watching FOX news, in a personal effort to be more ‘fair and balanced,’ I noted that political battle lines were already being drawn and I registered another subtle drop in my own optimism.
My wife and I watch the news sometimes fervently. For two years, we saw each election blow delivered and each counter punch registered. I cringed as some of my country’s less informed citizens insisted that Barack Obama is Muslim and therefore not trustworthy to lead the USA. I stood tall as Colin Powell questioned why in this country, being Muslim would disqualify anyone from being President, while at the same time pointing out that Barack Obama is a Christian.
I was glad to hear Mr. Powell eloquently remind America that there are currently men and women serving in our armed forces of all faiths including Islam. His words underscored the important but often overlooked fact that our nation is called the United States of America. Our choice of a leader should be based upon principles of unity not dictated by fear and bigotry. We ought to measure ourselves by asking if our choices manifest the sacred words, “We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal…”
I began to note that while political battle lines were indeed being drawn, the impending political battle will differ from the stereotypical platitudes which have dominated our political landscape for the past few decades. By choosing Barack Obama as President, the American public has chosen a new direction. We have initiated a break from our past and will soon be charting new territory for our nation and for the world. On the surface, this sounds exciting and I definitely want to be an enthusiastic participant, however, there is another aspect to all of this transition and impending change, which I’ll examine next.
First off, the idea of charting new territory was much more appealing when it was almost entirely theoretical. Now that such change is as an immediate necessity and we don’t know what it will look like or how it will impact our families and loved ones, there exists in me a fair measure of fear. Part of me whimsically wishes for the ability to postpone the unknown challenges and upheaval.
We are faced with incredible and unimagined global challenges, ranging from an unprecedented economic downturn to ecological crisis including the possible mass extinction of varied species and global warming. It is understandable that many of us desperately wish to fit everything into the context of our old ways of thinking and doing. There is comfort in familiarity and tackling these problems using a familiar world view where roles are assigned and we know where others stand seems easier.
This crisis won’t be handled in that fashion. We can’t predict what will happen or what will be required of us and our leaders. We can’t know in advance specifically how to weather this storm and come out the other side having created a better world. Sometimes I imagine the possibility of a ‘Mad Max’ post-apocalyptic world, where I will be glad to have learned marksmanship with both guns and archery. I will be grateful to have studied martial arts and to know carpentry. On other occasions, I imagine a green and peaceful world, where we all live environmentally sustainable lives and earth day is the most celebrated and beloved holiday on the planet. Cliché’s aside, our future is more ambiguous than it was only two years ago.
What’s clear is that our current paradigms will no longer effectively function in the face of these new threats. Of necessity, our solutions will be forged from creativity carrying forward the very best of who we are and what we have learned from past crisis. Our fundamental concepts of common sense may soon be irrelevant. With exponential decreases in available resources we will be forced to alter our mindset leaving behind the convenience of disposability. Our world is likely to witness dramatically increased levels of global disease and famine. Our moral leadership and our resolve will be tested; our willingness to coalesce and confront an imminent threat will be challenged.
We will face a multitude of difficult and frightful choices over the next years. Our actions will decide on which side of history we stand. While we may not be able to dictate which circumstances confront us, we will certainly have the opportunity to choose which values we serve and how far we go to preserve and perfect our union.