Sunday, July 4, 2010
E PLURIBUS UNUM
Happy July 4th to all my fellow countrymen. Today is a day that I usually like to spend in the USA though this year I am unable to. It is a time where we Americans are typically more united...at least within our families and communities. There are parades, hotdogs and beer, a celebration of summer, and in most cases reminders of the costs of our independence over the centuries from tyrants, dictators, rulers and terrorists via military actions. This day usually is the most PATRIOTIC of all days in my country.
A friend sent me a card today featuring the "Great Seal" of my government which features the message "E PURIBUS UNUM", which for those of us who never studied Latin or recognize the roots to our English language basically means "Out of many, one". I couldn't help but catch some of the irony of that motto in light of current events and political sentiments.
This motto is the core of my faith and belief in the concept of "The United States of America"...and extends to my new sense of globalization and its challenges. The challenge of this motto also is at the core of our global crisis regarding military and economic wars that quietly undermine the truth of the motto. Until the MASSES understand those things that unite and divide the human race, there will forever be conflict, mistrust and competition for domination one over the other.
Right now in the world I am seeing the "many"...but I an not seeing "one". Even in this day of supposed enlightenment, instant connectivity via technology and communications globally, and increased capacity at least until recent times for individual travel to foreign lands...we seem to have little increase in understanding and global unification over the problems that face us. The fundamental problems of this are ones that I often write about in this blog and are some harsh realities that few of us relish contemplating.
Even in our enlightened times, we have little understanding or acceptance of DIFFERENCE and diversity. At the core of our humanity we have somehow been conditioned to believe and focus our identity on our differences and "uniqueness" versus our commonality and shared values. Our humanity continues to be defined by our race, religion, political views, class backgrounds and educational opportunities. Various schools of thought lead to varying viewpoints or definitions of our realities...and it seems the more we know the more difficult it is to KNOW for sure. If we all had the same knowledge, understanding and experiences, it would be much easier to have peace and unity in our times. Unfortunately that is not the world we live in.
If I could write an open letter to the leadership and general population of my country on this subject...here are a few things I would plead:
Being united does not need to mean mutually dependent. Nor does being "independent" mean you are not united. We Americans need to remember the positive values that made our country great and grow...creativity, work ethic, family values and yes...a strong DEFENSE. We also need to remember in balance the bad things we have done historically which continue to haunt our society...slavery, the wiping out of indigenous inhabitants, and more in the last century the loss of fundamentally sound economic practices.
To be truly independent as a nation and as individual citizens, we must re-educate ourselves to "take care of ourselves". It is VERY evident in these times that governments are NOT able to take care of us any better than we are able to take care of ourselves. Socialism is a dying, unsustainable system. It is fundamentally flawed. We must get back to the fundamentals of individual sovereignty, taking care of OUR OWN (at family and community levels) and taking PRIDE in our independence versus how much we are able to rake the system for.
Democracy and "independence" may be mutually exclusive. Democracy only works if the MAJORITY are for individual sovereignty. If democracy is all about the majority lording their ways over the minority or living off the "minority"...then there will never be peace and tranquility in this kind of system. To maintain our dignity and independence, we must turn the pyramid of governmental dependency and bureaucracy "right side up" where the individual is at the top supported by the large base at the bottom, versus the weight of government and bureaucracy weighing down and smothering the individual at the bottom.
Most fundamentally for our unity, we must have equal ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY for everyone within our country...and then extend that concept to global responsibility and equality. In general, our global government institutions continue the trend of raising taxes and building bigger bureaucracies to "take care of the people"...but more realistically this acts as a few controlling the masses and protecting the corporate elite. While I don't believe socialism or collectivism works...without some sense of human responsibility of man helping man...our civilization is doomed, especially in this era of weapons of mass destruction. Yet...this was never a concept that "government" was designed to "do" in place of humans. The majority now wait for "the government" to do something in the event of disaster or depression or international conflict. Few of us take any matters into our own hands anymore. We don't want the "responsibility"...and most of us feel helpless in light of the huge institutionalized approach to this from governments and religions.
I also realize the "opportunity" cannot be forced on anyone. The reality is "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". If the horse doesn't drink, it will die. If people don't wake up and drink the water of productivity, education and good values...they will perish as well...either by starving to death or by being crushed by the very institutions they thought were going to take care of them.
Finally, we must realize that Pluribus Unum is more about actions than thoughts. As we are seeing during this month of soccer's "World Cup", patriotism and national identity are still alive and well in today's world. It is good that we humans are proud of our identities and cultures. Yet, the reality of these games is another allegory to life today. Some of the great dynasties of soccer such as Brazil and Argentina are out of the running...while some of the small emerging countries like Paraguay and Uruguay are playing harder and more united. One "star" on a team is no longer enough to win at the world stage level. Belief in a "Maradonna" is not enough to carry you to the top. It has now become evident that the team that is most united and having the best "game-plan" as well as fundamentals has the best chance of winning. I believe we will see this play out in the economic playing field of the world as well.
I am very concerned for my country in this regard. We are NOT at the top of our "game". Most of us are waiting for someone else to win it for us. Some of our "coaches" need to be replaced. Instead of bringing strong players down to the level of the rest of us...we need to bring the weak players up to STRENGTH. Most of us players in the system have lost our "fundamentals" of productivity and managing our resources. We are also still allowing ethnicity and belief systems to be our litmus test of who is "American" or not. Until we unite on all fronts in America...Republicans, Democrats, blacks, whites, Jew and Gentile, Arab and Latino, Christian and non, male and female...our team will not excel on the world stage. Instead of being defensive, protectionist, or living on the laurels of our past accomplishments...we need to excel NOW and for our future expectations. This will not happen until we truly experience E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Let us live the reality of "Independence Day"...