Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hope for the future

At 92 years of age
I finally see hope for the future of America!
And here's why.

For the first time in my 92 years, I came awfully close to despair regarding my country's future. My lifelong optimism has been in danger of being lost because of the daily onslaught of divisive news and the lack of a cohesive effort politically to solve complex national and worldwide human problems. Having lived through depressions and recessions, hot wars and cold wars as well as innumerable natural catastrophes, I have always seen the citizens of my country unite to meet the various challenges through cooperation and respect for government. I've always been proud of my country even though our treatment of Native Americans and other minorities has been dismal. I am proud that in my lifetime progress has been made in redressing our countries' historically dismal treatment of minorities so that I could find succor in the statement of Dr. King and others that the arc of justice continues to move in a positive direction. But never have I been so dismayed by the disregard of our leaders for simple courtesy in the treatment of others, for the disregard for truth and scientific analysis, for an unwillingness to compromise for the common good and for the rejection of America's fourth estate, the press.

However I am now able to move from this temptation of despair
because of two forces that not only give promise for change,
but also provide leadership for the first time to

Make America Truly Great!

How heartening for me to live to see HOPE as women finally become co-partners in leadership and are now joined by the youth of America with their vision for a future of love, peace and goodwill using modern technology. How dramatic to see that that these young peoplS throughout the country have begun to realize the important contribution they can make in creating a peaceful and loving world: that they can see through the selfishness and hypocrisy that has been permitted to control America and envision a world that values unity and inclusiveness for all in a safe environment.

These two forceful movements provide the vehicle for change and progress for an idealistic future that has only been dreamed of. Yet I believe there are

  • The wisdom of Solons, oracles and prophets
  • The strength and unity of American communities in the past.
But before looking at the last two aspects involved in change, I think it important for me to share some of my personal thoughts relative to the reason for my optimism.

  1. The force of feminine leadership.
    From the privilege of attending the Woman's March in Washington the day after the inauguration of President Trump, I am well aware that the women of America need no advice for me. I increasingly find it inconceivable that human kind has ignored the strengths of one half of the population in seeking to solve complex world problems. Tradition, social mores' and emotional prejudices have dominated the conversation while we have ignored the unique contributions that women could make in charting undiscovered human potential. It's time for men to step back and see how we can best support women in this movement. It's time for we men to consider the past difficulties we have burdened women with in order for us to understand and and support them in the future. History is replete with arduous struggles for justice and equality. WE MEN CAN BEGIN TO HELP MOVE FORWARD by schooling ourselves in past and enduring injustices. We can begin by looking back at the great leaders like Anthony, Stanton, Friedan and Steinhem. We should also individually look at ourselves and see where we have failed to support insightful women in our own lives. Taking this advice personally, I can recognize my failure as a father and husband to stand up for daughters and a wife who endured misunderstanding and mistreatment:
  • When my high school daughter was in the dentist chair and told by her dentist, "Honey, open your mouth wider", She replied, "My mother may call me honey, my father may call me honey, but you can't."
  • My seventh grade daughter, in order to participate on her junior high school track team, had do undergo the ridicule of being on the boy's team since there was no girl's tea coach. She was not treated with respect by her male teammates and even her the adult coach.
  • The trauma of my two daughters being subjected to Me – Too behaviors by men in power positions!
  • It was hard for me to accept the fact that my 21-year-old fiancĂ© broke our engagement in 1950. As she gave me the ring back, she stated that while she still loved me, she felt she was compelled to do so since she had never – and probably would never would if she married me soon – experience the freedom of life on her own without being responsible to a male. Never did I give thought to her difficulties as a pioneering feminist. I thought only of my trauma. But how insightful she was to "endure" this experience that she deemed necessary. I know now the full happiness that ensued because of her wisdom.
  1. The idealism of young people in seeking to chart a new direction for their country.
    Young people throughout the world over the past few years have played a leadership role in seeking justice, equality and freedom from tyranny for all peoples. Certainly this was the tenor of the times in the Near East where it was so vividly displayed in Cairo Egypt. And for years, even our own country, young people have been on the forefront of improvement in civil rights For me the month following the murder of students and adults at the high school in Parkland, Florida, is a continuing part of this demand for change. Young people are tired of the hypocrisy on constant display and the pace of change over the past few years to improve conditions for those without hope our safety, especially for those whose voices have never been heard. I find it remarkable there are similarities around the world. While the similarities are uncanny, consider how dramatically different is the action of American youth. It began with young people from an affluent public school who learned their civics lessons well. Peaceful demonstrations were followed up by discussions and meetings with public officials to bring change through the American system of legislation and justice. Yet consider how dramatically different appears to be the action of American youth. It began with young people from a public school who learned there civics lessons well. Peaceful demonstrations were followed up by discussions and meetings with public officials to bring change through the American system of legislation and justice. Young people were mocked and faced ridicule and censure as they expressed their sadness and grief and deeply felt feelings. Yet they felt compelled to confront a system they perceived as being moribund.
    What an exciting way to begin a revolution.

Thus my hope for the future has been renewed. I would be remiss, however, if I left it at that. While in many ways my 92 years were never unique or exotic, I feel I have been in a position to participate in and observe a rather historical period. And I feel compelled to share insights I have gained in that time that might have value in the future.

  1. The wisdom of Solons, oracles and prophets. Even printing the words seems archaic. There are probably few who know that Solon refers to the wise, elderly lawyers of Athens who were called upon to redefine the law. Do many young people know that the Oracle of Delphi refers to the elderly Greek philosopher of wisdom in 1400 BC. But most Bible oriented Americans know what an elderly prophet is. I fear that one of the weaknesses of our society today is that history – the past – has nothing to offer and there is a reluctance by young people to seek elderly wise solons, oracles or prophets.
    This previous paragraph is my attempt to be erudite in giving some advice to young people: that their much needed enthusiasm and desire for change be tempered by looking to the wisdom, achievements and errors of past generations. For proof of this. I would like to share an example from my educational experiences in the 1950s and 60s.
    James B. Conant's distinguished career ranges from the presidency of Harvard University to that of a scientist developing the atomic bomb to leadership in West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. As an educator, however, I saw him best when he was called by the Carnegie Institute to lead a reform of American education. All America was upset because the launching of Sputnik by the Russians meant that their educational system was for superior to ours. While the study brought forth many helpful suggestions for improving the American high school, we failed to heed Conant's underlying warnings “written in wrath” in the Carnegie study, Slums and Suburbs:
that ghetto schools were woefully inadequate and were the equivalent of social
dynamite and he feared that the dangerous social situation would explode.

In retrospect, one can clearly see that a younger generation at that time did not follow the wisdom of this prophet who clearly pointed to the needs of Fourth of A Nation, the title a book published at that time which clearly denoted how one fourth of our country was being neglected.
While I make no claim to being an Oracle, Solon or Prophet, I shall occasionally use my Ranting blog to share thoughts from the past which may be of help in assisting these young people in their commitment to saving lives and making life better for all
  1. The strength and unity of American communities in the past.
    In his book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam mantains that America has lost those forces that have been the glue that unified our people into one country in the past. From Rotary clubs to churches, from a few mainstrem radio and television voices to a cacophony of discordant social media voices, we are no longer drawn together. Separation and isolation are today the norm.
I personally believe that recent political events have magnified this problem,
and it is perhaps the greatest stumbling block that must be overcome for harmony
and wholeness is to be achieved. if our . And while there are many tangents to the
problem. I believe that Robert Putnam's book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us and Better Together:Restoring the American Community
provide insight into how unity can again be achieved. And yet I know that even though we profess to be a “God-fearing” nation, the mere mention of the word is not only anathema to my four children and nine grandchildren, but is disdain by
most of America's idealistic young people.

Religion: the word alone sounds the alarm of hypocrisy and hostility to young people. Mystical things like virgin birth, miracles, a heavenly father and an afterlife are anathema to them. Yet I am convinced that it is in this area that a better understanding of the role and function of the world's great true religions, all of which are built on the platform of love and peace will provide a world that is desperately sought by women and the youth of America. It is my belief that the hypocrisy expressed by religious leaders in maintaining traditional practices and superstitions has kept young people from finding the strength and purpose that they are desperately seeking. While I respect religious institutions for their good works, I am convinced that their tribal approach and concept of a father God who created and controlled world has shown the need for

A new Reformation is needed to remove divisiveness, political posturing and hypocrisy in order to create unity in America by making churches, mosques and synagogues places of contemplation and commitment to love and peace for all.

And as agnostic, atheistic Christian, I'd enjoy talking about the topic further.

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