Today's Plan A is: a spiraling national debt, armed forces that power the planet's peace, a political system built on maintaining the status quo, and an increasingly polarized populace – unwilling to entertain opposing ideas. We've arrived here, not by strategic planning or by any long term direction, but by default.
We live in the greatest country in the world, second to none, with no second choice near. But our collective global blindness is frightening. We were once the inspiration the world needed, a shining democracy, and the world's destination for creativity, innovation, and education.
Every single one of us, no matter our political affiliation, is responsible for Plan A. No matter your religious beliefs, skin color, sex, or education level, you've played a part in our arrival at this precise point in time. It's never too late to fix it, but it'll require one heck of a change in our entire societal fabric.
The problem starts with the career politicians that drive the “democratic” process. They're mostly former attorneys with deep insight into how the “System” works. The've spent decades building the process, whether in school, or in practice. And most of all, these people know how to stay in office once elected. They've built their careers, sometimes from humble beginnings, and have along the way lost touch with not only themselves, but those that brought them to power.
Any system that encourages camaraderie with power is predisposed to corruption and subsequent failure. Weak personal constitutions, a lack of integrity, and the proliferation of American excess within our “leadership” have led us here. It's said that money and power amplify your inner being – politicians are no different.
It'll be an incredibly long road, but if we're to fix the broken machine (the corruption, lobbying, foreign policy, our national debt, etc.) it has to start at home, with our children. It starts by teaching our children a modern set of core values – from truth and reason, to financial responsibility, to understanding that all things are possible with curiosity, and an education. Work and play with your kids – encourage them to dream and create. Encourage them to try. Let them fail, even if the result is blood.
We must lead by example, as parents, friends, and citizens. Live every day with integrity, kindness, passion, and financial precision. Live a healthy life, free of gluttony, debt, credit, leases, and the excess that was “The American Dream” – as for most, its quest has been anything but.
Reach within, and bring forward the absolute best in your life, and be believe enough in yourself to leave the rest behind. You can only influence the future – embrace that fact, and stop building your future on the past.
Associate only with people that provide a positive influence, and provide guidance to those in need. Sometimes it's a conversation, though likely it's by example.
If you take nothing else from this post, just remember this: you have the power to change everything in your lives, every minute, of every day, and that my friends is truly “The American Dream.” Plan B is you.
Inspired by We've Only Got America A, by Thomas L. Friedman, of the New York Times.