|Daily Review, 03/02/05|
It's time for this country to wake up and see things as they are instead of how they are relentlessly portrayed by conservative political manipulators. The clever combination of fundamentalist religion with cynical right-wing hucksterism has a large fraction of the population believing the United States is justified to act as the world's righteous dictator of morality and democracy. This message, capitalizing on a fear brought about by jihadist attacks, has resonated with the sector of the population that has a less sophisticated experience of the world.
We cannot afford to indulge in this misguided approach to world politics. There may no longer be a single opposing "super-power" in the world, but there are developing economic and political powers poised to overtake us if we don't immediately recognize this reality and correct the mistakes we have been making. The European Union, China and India are emerging as powerful forces in the world that will soon exceed America's self-righteous and self-serving influence. Military might is not an answer to this: our response must be to accept our place as a leading member of the world of nations, one who leads by example rather than by force.
To begin, we must correct faults that have developed in our system of education. We must optimize the system of educating our citizens so that the individual strengths of students are recognized and nurtured, whether they are academic or vocationally oriented, to maximize the effectiveness of our workforce. We must stress critical thinking and not allow the dilution of the curriculum with politically motivated alternatives that are not supported by the facts. We must continue to develop our leadership in science and technology, not rest on past accomplishments. And we must be critical of the manipulative voices in the media urging us in the wrong direction.