Thursday, January 19, 2017

A brief open letter to the USA

Dear USA,

Tomorrow is the day Donald Trump becomes the 45th president. I put in my two cents on the outcome of the election in the previous post, but some things occurred to me today.

I believe that the human species, or at least our current global civilisation,  is facing an evolutionary bottleneck, a fork in the road. We are quite capable of destroying ourselves and taking much of Gaia's biosphere with us.  We are also capable of tremendous courage, compassion and inventiveness. I refuse to give up on the possibility of a unified, mainly peaceful Earth as portrayed in the Star Trek universe, where Jean Luc Picard's brother has an orchard in France.

In order to make it through we will need to draw on the very best of all humanity, from all cultures and as many times as we can remember. That includes the wisdom of tribal peoples, and it includes the best of the USA, and it includes the best of the people who voted for the incoming government.

Dear USA. The world cannot afford either American imperialism or American exceptionalism. Get over yourself. You do not have the right to devour a quarter of the world's energy with 5% of the world's population. You do not have to police the whole planet.

But the world needs the American dream. 
I am talking of the dream of an open society with social mobility, of a place where government is by and for the people and there is freedom and justice for all. Sure, the dream  has never  become reality. But we need the vision.

I assume some of the people who voted for Trump did so because they believe he represents the best chance to live up to those ideals. Here's to hoping they will hold his feet to the fire if he starts messing with the constitution. Freedoms are easier maintained than recovered.

My hope is that the USA's institutional framework can stand up to the worst impulses of the incoming government. My fear is it will not.

I am ending this with these words from the Facebook page of urban homesteader and writer Erica Strauss.

"No matter what your native language, all American citizens are protected by the liberties explicitly enumerated in our shared Constitution. Learn it, defend it, protect it."


Anonymous said...

It seems many Americans no longer share this vision. I hope more messages like this one reach even the most cynical among us and uplift us all.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Thanks. We have to keep trying.

Michelle said...

Hi Ien

gooiemore van Skotland. :D

Thanks for replying on my book as it led me to finding this post. I completely agree with all you say here. My hope (crazy? maybe) is that Trump will be the "wake up" call that makes America see what needs to change.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Baje Dankie Michele! Lovely to meet you, thank our dear mutual friend Tint.