A World Without Tunnel Vision

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My entire life I have done my best to keep calm and carry on. I have fought bouts of sadness by studying, working, reaching out to other people with random acts of kindness. I have totally believed in the innate goodness of people and I have been optimistic about our human inclinations and willingness to work together, compromise, sacrifice for the greater good of all humanity. I have wondered how evil enters our world and takes hold of individuals and sometimes entire nations to spread its poison. I have considered such perversions as anomalies that always seem to ultimately be beaten back by the preponderance of good people in the world. Optimism has been my guide through every challenge of my lifetime and believing in the best of humankind has been a potent motivator for me along with the comfort that my faith in God brings me. I’m not boasting because by my own admission I have failed and become cynical many times over, but somehow I manage to pull myself out of the doldrums and return to the better half of myself time and again.

To say it has been tough for me to deal with the ugliness in the present day condition of the world is an understatement, but I am determined to believe that good people across the globe will ultimately prevail. We have to identify our common problems and then agree on crafting potential solutions, realizing that our first efforts may or may not work. We will need patience to make progress with the global issues that ultimately affect us all. If we simply ignore our common problems, we do so at our own peril.

All of humankind continues to endure the ravages of Covid 19 in every corner of the globe. A million Americans have died. Cases are on the rise again with a new variant and it is time that all of us acknowledge that we may want to ignore the virus, but it will not ignore us. We should be willing to follow the science and continue to be cautious until it burns itself out completely or becomes as mild and common as a cold. We owe it to each other to get tested if we develop symptoms and let people know that we are sick. Common sense means that we don’t ignore signs that we might have Covid even if those indicators are mild. If we truly respect each other we must still be careful not to spread the virus.

Climate change is real. The proof is registered on our thermometers and in the increase and magnitude of natural disasters. Fires are already burning in the west and will likely intensify in the summer months. Drought is devastating waterways and threatening to leave areas of the country without the liquid that our bodies must have. We have to face the reality that it is past time to conserve resources and change the ways that we operate daily. This may mean driving less, changing to electric cars, becoming accustomed to raising our thermostats in the summer and lowering them in the winter. We may even start opening windows in the cooler parts of the summer days and putting on extra layers of clothing whenever it is cold outside. It’s time for all of us to educate ourselves in what we need to do to turn the tide of global warming around. Most surely it will require sacrifice but surely we are willing to change for the good of future generations.

There is a major food shortage around the world, particularly in third world countries. The distribution of food has been yet another victim of both Covid and the subsequent production and supply chain issues that are impacting every single country. The war in Ukraine has removed the source of much of the grain that world’s people rely on. It is our duty as fellow humans to resist the inclination to isolate ourselves and hoard our food resources with an America First attitude. We have always been our best when we have helped to feed other people in the world and striven to make them safe and healthy. If doing so now means that we have to make sacrifices at the grocery store, then that is what we must do. 

Immigrants are not invaders. Most of them are people who simply want better lives for themselves and their children. Almost everyone, save for Native Americans, is descended from someone who left another nation and came to our shores seeking economic, religious, or political freedom. Immigrants have built this nation and continue to do so. Instead of building walls and adhering to ugly theories like a plot to replace white Americans with foreigners, we should be earnestly working together for true immigration reform that will encourage and allow good people from all over the world to join us as long as they are willing to work within our laws. We can no longer afford to create monsters out of people who have the same need and desires as our ancestors once had.

Violence and crime are daily routines. We need to honestly find out why this is happening. The challenge is to avoid a blame game and cooperate with one another to find both the source of this situation and viable solutions for controlling it. We need to be willing to try all kinds of measures including both preventive and punitive ideas. We must determine the roles that education, social programs, ownership of guns, broken families, hate groups and portrayals of violence are playing in creating the caustic environment. Instead of accepting soundbites and accusations from our leaders we need to seek people who are willing to cross the aisle and repair our cities and towns without asking for credit. We don’t need talk. We need solutions that are just and fair for all and they must not focus only on punishment.

We finally have to ask ourselves why we are so angry with those whose ideas are different from our own. In the history of mankind it has been diversity that has produced the very best ideas. We need a balance of viewpoints. We must hear all voices, not just the loudest ones. We need to stop the attempts to force particular beliefs on everyone. In truth each side of the aisle thinks it has the answer to making our country and our world great. Such will not happen if the best we can do is impede any form of progress by making the running of our government a zero sum game in which vast swathes of people are regularly doomed to lose. 

We hear talk that compromise is a sign of weakness. We boast about tough people who are steadfast in their refusal to even consider any kind of thoughts other than their own. Therein lies the biggest problem that we face. Imposing our personal wills on others is only going to impede the process that we need. Fear, isolation and authoritarian philosophies have been the source of human misery for millennia. Surely we know this and surely we must be willing to withdraw our support from those who would dominate us rather than represent us all. The rhetoric is exhausting and it is even killing us. It’s time we take a deep breath and bring optimism and sacrifice and cooperation back into the world to defy the despots and evil doers who seem to think that we are too busy fighting to notice the damage they are doing to our beautiful world. Tunnel vision is our enemy, not each other. Let’s agree to build a world without it.

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