|Posted on July 6, 2017 at 7:05 AM|
I awoke this morning to this thought: Infrastructure Spending. We've heard it used as a sound byte. It connotes spending on things like bridges, roads, buildings...all physical apparatus that we use to build out and up from wherever we are, and to improve what we already have to make it safer and more durable for years to come.
This idea of "infrastructure" kept repeatinig in my mind, but not for the physical, for the non physical. Here's what I mean. In our great country, we have a saying: "America, land of the free and home of the brave." My friends, we are neither of these. If we the people includes every man woman and child who calls this place home, we are deluding ourselves.
First in the way of freedom: no where else on earth are there more people serving time behind bars than in America. What lands someone in jail? Are they all bad people? No. Just like the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, says of dogs: there are no bad dogs, only bad owners who don't understand dog behavior or who abuse the dog because he is a dog. So lets just say that humans have behaviors that come about due to their environment and their treatment. And I'm not going to apologize for using an analogy of a dog for a person because in fact we share our animal nature. The truth is the "infrastructure" of society is what really needs attending and correcting.
Are any of us free when we mortgage our future with mountains of debt? Who benefits from consumer spending? Why is that a measure of our success? How am I better when I spend more? Delusion
Now in the way of the brave, there is no doubt we have courageous people who fight for our protection and our interests - our steadfast and loyal military family. We also have brave people, ordinary citizens who, in spite of the lack of social infrustructure, manage to start businesses, get a college education, and bear up under pain and suffering, and sometimes humiliation to feed, house and care for themselves, their children and loved ones. There are no shortage of brave people willing to put themselves in the public sphere, subject themselves to criticism and ridicule, to speak their minds or to offer their creative ideas with the intention of helping others and improving the lives of not just a few special people, but all people.
Cowardice comes in the form of fear. Yes, the same fear that is stoked daily on the news, the fear that rings in our ears constantly about the "other", the ones with the "different" religion, customs, mode of dress, language, preferences, color, accent, country of origin.....keep going. There are literally thousands of factors that make us different from one another. We're different for a reason. There's a reason even identical twins are different, no two people are exactly alike. Think about this. Yes, we're comfortable when we are around those who share our factors, but put us in a room with those who differ from us, who are outside our comfort zone and we become harsh, demeaning, suspicious, defensive, critical and mean. We are not brave at all when it comes to seeing past differences. This is where we need to be brave, so that we can live in peace, celebrating our shared human experiences.
It's easy to be fooled into thinking that people are bad. Most people are genuinely good, caring, compassionate, kind and generous. Those who are not may have experienced trauma or abuse. They may have been born into unfortunate circumstances, fell prey to addiction, illness, poverty, crime and violence. Perhaps their society encourages this abuse and may be they cannot be helped. But I believe that with the proper "infrastructure", at least in America if no where else in this world, we can take ourselves out from under the grip of delusion and into a place of positioning ourselves for the best possible future. We need to look at this and invest in social infrastructure to improve the society we already have to make it safer and more durable for years to come.
Social Infrustructure improvements lay the groundwork for success whether you were born into priviledge and support, surrounded by a loving supportive family as a child, or if you were born into poverty, abandoned and abused by an addicted parent. The real investment, the one that pays the biggest dividends are the ones that invest in people. Universal healthcare and universal education whether in colleges, universities or training in trade skills. Just think how much we could improve every person's life if we didn't have to mortgage our futures to achieve an education. An educated society makes educated choices. And a society that offers universal healthcare has the capacity to treat addictions, offer counseling, provide physical and mental healthcare so that we can heal. Once we are educated and healthy, we can start businesses, create opportunities, express our creativity in the form of new ideas that advance our society and the planet. The economy has no choice but to improve under these circumstances. We're already spending the money now as a society. We need to shift how we spend it. I don't want to "invest" in another prison.
It's not welfare spending or entitlement, two words that have crippled attempts to help the needy. It's investment in our infrastructure! No more needy - true opportunity for everyone. Let's get out of the prison business and the student loan business and stop erecting barriers to success and pave a clear pathway. Give people a chance to develop so we can see them blossom. We need this now.