Having coming from a multi-ethnic family I have always been fascinated with ethnicity and the role it plays in society. My ethnicity is rather undefinable to the eye. I have been mistaken for many different ethnicities, usually the wrong one. There have been times that I have hated it but most of the time it’s a benefit. I can quietly slip into any group of “brownish” people and as long as I keep my mouth shut, I blend in.
The most recent census in the US now indicates that Caucasian people are becoming the minority in the US. I often ask my learners if multiculturalism and globalization are a good thing. It’s safe to say that in 150 years everyone might look like me. There might not be truly defined ethnicities and further down the road we might eliminate all but a few languages. Most of my learners tell me that they think this might be the best thing. They say that it might only be then that we begin to live as one race of people on this earth. I sort of doubt it. I’m sure we will find something to fight about.
In my early adulthood I would often hear about a car bomb that killed 50 people in a market place on the other side of the earth. I would hear this news and part of my brain would take in the knowledge and maybe for a minute or two, I would think about the lives that were lost, a father of four whose wife would hear the news and she would suddenly be struck by the knowledge that life is forever changed. Those thoughts however, were brief. I wanted to care. I wanted to understand how that tragedy affected my life but it was too far away and I lived in a country where I could safely drive my car to the local supermarket or take the subway or go to my place of worship without even the most remote fear of an act of terrorism.
Today our world is changing quickly. We are very linked to our global neighbors. Our economies are very closely connected, we share an eco-system and we share fears of perceived enemies. Some of my fellow American’s will take offense at what I am saying today but when you read this remember that anger is often a manifestation of fear. We don’t have the luxury of existing in a comfortably numb way of life any longer. We have to pay attention when we hear about a car bomb that killed 50 people in a market place on the other side of the earth. We have to open our ears and our eyes. The world "is" changing.
I like living in the most powerful country in the world. I like the civil liberties that I take for granted daily. I like going to the supermarket without the real fear that I might never see my family again. I like the freedom of walking down the street without seeing soldiers or armed personal carriers. I love the pioneer spirit that makes Americans Americans. I love the sense of innovation, the optimism and the patriotism. There are however, things we need to do to preserve this wonderful way of life. We (the people) have to adapt to the changes that are occurring as quickly as those changes are occurring. We have to wake up.
Regardless of our political leanings there are several things that we MUST do in order to maintain our strength as a nation. They are as follows:
1.) We need to pay attention to the election results in other countries. We need to know our world leaders and why and how they are elected. Countries like Spain, Italy and Greece are not a military threat to the US but their economies are currently a mess. Their economies drag down the European economy. When the Euro weakens too drastically it affects trade. If the Euro is weak they can’t afford to do business in the US. The US economy’s health is dependent upon its overseas business relationships.
2.) We need to learn languages, EARLY and fluently. English is the international language of business. I love it; it is my job to teach business English but can we really be competitive if we don’t really understand our competitors? Do you know that we are perceived as arrogant because we don’t even try? The Chinese are quickly gaining power as a nation. They are learning English. I’ve read studies that indicate that when we speak another language we actually begin to see perceive things differently, we might actually see the color “blue” differently. I believe that it is true. We need to be more accommodating to people who speak other languages, we need to see them differently. We need to be more competitive in the international market place. Insist that your children, your grandchildren and your nephews and nieces learn a language. Encourage your schools to begin offering language in kindergarten. If we don’t, we will fall behind.
3.) As a country we need to invest in education. Have you ever wondered why so many people that work in IT, Medicine, Research and Technology come from other countries? It’s no coincidence. We recruit and give work permits to foreign people because we aren’t producing that level of innovation ourselves. We need to strengthen the level of public education available starting at the pre-school level. We need to recognize good teachers and pay them accordingly. We need to make higher education affordable and recognize the value of trade schools.
4.) We need to honor the religious beliefs of others. I am not a religious person, the spiritual beliefs that I do have are devout and they are personal. There is one rule that my children know is non- negotiable. We do not disparage the religious beliefs of others. It simply is not honorable to do so. This country was founded on the belief in religious freedom. Religion does not belong in public schools and it does not belong in politics. If we don’t honor the beliefs of others, we are Un-American. If you truly want to preserve and honor your religion, honor the religion of others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
5.) We need to reduce the outsourcing of manufacturing! The outsourcing of manufacturing robs Americans of jobs. Manufacturing historically has offered high-paying jobs to otherwise unskilled or non-college educated people. These jobs strengthen the middle class. A healthy middle class equates to a stronger America. The quality of products mass produced in other countries is not typically high. Have you wondered why your appliances don’t last as long as they used to? Be willing to pay a bit more for US manufactured products. You might save more money in the long run while boosting the US economy. It is a commonly held opinion in Europe that China will overtake the US as a financial superpower. In their opinion it is not a matter of “if” it is matter of “when”.
As we approach another US Election please take what I have written into consideration. I’m not attempting to tell you for whom you should vote (although I’d love to make suggestions). I’m asking you to delve deeper into what you believe to be true. I’m asking you to research what you read. I’m asking you to look at the big picture which is the entire world. We are really just a part of it.