The era of fierce nationalism is passed.
I’m not actually certain there ever was an era where it was wise or appropriate to abide by a rabid us-vs-them superiority, but if there was, it is absolutely over.
We are irreversibly interconnected with and to the entire globe. With the incredible reality and influence of the internet, we exist in a world where, in many aspects of life, we are without borders.
It is, therefore, time for us to take seriously the reality of our global citizenship, and, right now, choose a leader who values not the tired rhetoric of national pride or vague religious principle, but the ideals, humility, and responsibility of a global citizen.
Given that we have never before seen a world so deeply and irreversibly interconnected, isn’t it time to approach our conflicts and policies from a global angle?
Faced with terrorist threat and action, we are still sitting around trying to determine which leader promises to carry the biggest stick. Who seems to know how we can make sure to kill them before they kill us.
It is literally the lunacy of man-to-man shooting duels, except on a massive scale where hundreds of thousands of lives are lost no matter who pulls the trigger fastest.
It is not just stupid. It is irrelevant. It will never work.
Secrets are increasingly hard to keep, and before long, there will be no enemy without access to the most deadly military technologies. Banking our hope on being the biggest or the strongest is literally sticking our heads in our American sand and exposing ourselves to whomever and whatever will eventually take aim.
So we try to change our border policy to keep a tighter lock on ourselves. Protect our jobs, our resources, our ideas. Take a look around the world. Where does that end? Countries with tightly closed borders are not generally the ones with the characteristics we’re hoping to carry. The more we close off and isolate, the less hope we have to remain powerful, relevant, or successful.
But more than any of these single issues, I think our entire approach is just plain wrong.
I know it seems naive, dreamy, irrelevant… but truly it is time to let go of the Us vs. Them mentality altogether. We need to understand and accept that we actually are, all, exactly the same— Human beings on a single, spinning planet. Yes, we’ve drawn arbitrary invisible lines all over the place. But our resources and efforts need to be directed away from keeping those lines safe, and toward moving the entire world toward peace and growth.
You don’t do that by having the biggest stick. It’s been proven again and again that you do it with education, cooperation, encouragement of equality and opportunity. You do it with the mindset of a citizen of humanity, not just our own little patch of grass.
It all sounds simple and even silly, but the alternative is much, much sillier. To keep doing what we’ve been doing is just not going to work. It WILL expire. It WILL, suddenly, eventually, run completely out of steam.
We are all human beings on this single, spinning planet, and that is never going to change. We need to find world leaders who are doing things well, who have policies that work, and LEARN from each other. We need to stop laughing at the ecologists and climate change doomsayers and figure out how to protect and heal OUR planet. We need to recognize that EVERY issue is a humanitarian issue…. If a HUMAN needs protection, we all need to be protectors and peacemakers. If a HUMAN is in dire poverty, we all need to share and seek to empower. If a HUMAN is sick from a polluted portion of the planet, we all need to isolate and eliminate that pollution, no matter how monumental of a task that may be. Sickness is contagious, but so is goodness.
And you know what? That’s going to be incredibly, painfully, hard. There are no easy routes to any solutions. They all demand massive lifestyle change, and immense faith.
But I’m telling you, we have no choice.
Sure, we can put it off a few more generations, much to our eternal shame. But there is no doubt that the reckoning will come.
And what I’m saying is, we’re parents. We know the incredible, life shattering power of birthing a tiny, precious, pure human. We know the heart wrenching love of wanting the absolute, very best possible for our babies.
So with tears in my eyes, and a pounding human heart, I’m saying that I don’t want to wait.
I cannot, will not say to my children, “Well guys, we just didn’t want to change. Change is just too hard. Too inconvenient. So here you go. We’re just going to leave and give our disaster to you. Good luck.”
My most fervent prayer is that you won’t either.