We need trailblazers
Highlands TodayThere's no going back, yet we keep trying. Forecasters predicted December employment would show net gains. Instead, the Department of Labor reported another 85,000 jobs gone. Overall, more than 4.1 million Americans lost livelihoods in 2009 and many are "underemployed," only finding part-time work. What now?
Published: January 13, 2010
Published: January 13, 2010
Mistakes or triumphs of yesterday are past. We need trailblazers. "Life is like riding a bicycle," said well-known statesman Claude Pepper. "You don't fall off until you stop pedaling." The 19th century Scottish missionary physician, David Livingstone, was asked where he wanted to go: "Anywhere, so long as it is forward." He carried his passion, the Christian gospel, to Africa, and became one of its greatest explorers, his maps still usable.
New frontiers call for spark (passion) and innovation (exploration). Labels block progress. Far-right conservative, former Republican presidential contender (Ah, labels!), Gary Bauer wrote recently: "The real solution is right in front of their faces, but Obama's leftwing ideology blinds him." He further accuses the White House of "modeling its plans after FDR. (Or is it Hugo Chavez and Chairman Mao?)"
Political bombast, rivalry, and desire to control dig deep holes. Newscasters, like Campbell Brown of CNN, attempting to present different sides of issues and stop the name-calling, are asking, "Is there anything on which we can agree?" Increasingly, there isn't. We can't get past pre-set notions that lock-in the past and block the future.
Case in point: Women can wallow in injustice or they can break molds. Nancy Pelosi spoke directly when House Republicans suggested she be "put in her place" (Oct. 2009). "I'm in my place. I'm the Speaker of the House, the first woman speaker of the House."
Others feel the same as they infiltrate the "man's world": Drew Faust, first female president of Harvard (Feb. 2007); first all-female, wine-judgers (March 2007); Moira Cameron, first female Beefeater (Sept. 2007) to guard the Tower of London; Barbara Faulkenberry, added to the 5 percent of U.S. military generals who are women (May 2008); Julie Harter (featured in the Tribune June 2009), one of the few female alligator trappers; Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King, first woman, Army drill chief.
December 2009 reports revealed unemployment rising faster for men than for women. With many women becoming primary breadwinners, their earning 78 cents to a man's dollar really hurts. Always unfair, it was written off as a gender thing, as other problems now confronting us: a racial thing, a religion thing, a political party thing.
Terrorism and economic disaster are upon us. We cannot afford these "things" any longer. Jesus promised ability to dig deep and bring forth new and old treasure, "the fresh as well as the familiar" (Matthew 13:52 Amplified). Winston Churchill noted: "Any 20-year-old who isn't a liberal doesn't have a heart, and any 40-year-old who isn't a conservative doesn't have a brain." We need leaders, blind to labels of party, race, age, and gender, with hearts and brains, willing to let go of both the Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan eras, visionaries in the now, using today's tools to solve today's issues. Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.