The President of the United States is somewhat President of all of us. We can’t vote for him or her because we are not US citizens. But glancing round the world we see who acts as world policeman. And I, for one, am grateful that a generally responsible country is willing to take a major role in keeping freedom at the heart of its purpose. If not USA, then who? My mother was American and I have many cousins in the United States. Even if I didn’t have those connections I would say God Bless America. Maybe you would, too?
Not everything is right with America – or anywhere else for that matter. The constitution of the US now seems bizarre at times. The disparity between rich and poor is outrageous and surely unconstitutional. That criticism can, of course, be levelled at most countries in the world. The avariciousness of modern competitive capitalism is a moral problem we have yet to tackle. Many of the young are hoping to do so. They need freedom of expression to succeed.
The freedom for which America stands has itself become abused. Humanity is obsessed with the belief that if something is good, an excess of it will be better. So childish. There’s plenty of evidence to support the notion that ‘more often means worse’. Freedom, like everything else, must be moderate if it is to work properly. Listening to the appeals to voters to nominate the next Republican candidate for President of the United States is shocking for its intemperance, its lack of logic and its appalling language. No, I don’t want everyone to speak one kind of English but it would be nice if they could mostly speak some kind of sense.
As of today it looks as though Mr Trump will be reelected President. There can be two broad consequences of that. It is possible that he will recognise the need for stability in world politics. And it is possible that he won’t. Perhaps equally important is how will the world see Mr Trump as President of the United States? Will they regard him as someone whose clever appeal to violence will replace law and order in the biggest economy in the world? Or will he become a mediator between autocracy and freedom as the world currently defines them?
Mr Trump’s record of sense and decency is not good. In saying that it is clear that the sense and decency of many American voters must also be in question otherwise he wouldn’t have the support he apparently has. People usually become violent when they think they are being threatened or treated unjustly or the only way to get a better deal is to riot. They become unreasonable because reason has failed to achieve what they want.
What people want is initially moulded as a result of their parenting and education. Their purpose and responsibility in life decides what they think they are entitled to once they have grown up. When I suggest that today’s education requires a fundamental rethink in order to make it work with our advanced technology and tremulous speed of life I am told that the effects of such a review won’t be felt for two or three generations. I dispute this. The impact of changes in education will be immediate given today’s understanding that learning is lifelong.
Even if it is not quite as straightforward as I imply, the need for change must surely be acknowledged. A concerted educational effort to bring a renaissance of good personal standards, of more logical thinking and of an understanding of what the world has to offer would be a greater credit to our species than all the battle conquests and any of the new technologies we can invent.
Creating a better version of ourselves would justify our continued existence.
It would also ensure that we got the leaders we need.
What do you think? We’d love to know. Please tell us at [email protected]
The dawn of life,
the dusk of life,
the shadows of life
The President presents
25 January 2024