Saturday, January 20, 2007

Optimism while being aware of issues

Today we face many issues which are serious and seem intractible:
  • Global Warming threatens our quality of life and perhaps life itself.
  • Continued and growing use of oil in the US hurts the US and finances its enemies.
  • The Iraq war seems to be a quagmire with no easy solution.
  • Islamic fundamentalism and other extremism is a threat to freedom.
  • Religion continues to divide many in the US.
  • Race is an ongoing issue. Not just black and white, but between other groups too - Hispanic and Asian.
  • Wars and genocide across the globe do not seem to diminish. Even though fatalities in Iraq seem to be much lower than in Vietnam, much of this is due to improved medicine so that injured soldieers who once would have died, survive.
  • Globally democracy is not making gains, and over the past few years has even retreated.
  • The US Balance of payments stubbornly refuses to go down in spite of a declining $.
  • The US Budget deficit is growing.
  • 45 Million Americans are uninsured, even though the US spends twice as much per capita on health care as any other country in the world while getting poorer health care than many other Western countries. It hurtd global competitiveness.
  • Income inequality in the US is increasing.
  • Education in the US is failing - local funding and control hurts schools while Universities and Colleges are performing poorly although costs continue to climb faster than inflation.
  • Illegal immigration is an issue in every Western democracy.
However, morale is high and continues to be so. We sometimes forget that while the above are true, we have the means to fix each of them. We have amazing technology, a greater knowledge of the world and great energy from the population, including most of the immigrants. I certainly believe that we can achieve much.

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