We humans are odd creatures and never more so than when we worry about our importance and tear down others to boost our egos, even if those others are in the past. We’re more advanced and often cite our technology as proof. Things, apparently, are the supreme measure of advancement. Never mind that those who came before us believed the same, those people we now snicker at, people left behind in our dusty, rusty, and black and white past even a mere century ago.
It was 1912 when the unsinkable Titanic failed to survive her maiden voyage. The arrogant symbol of that new age not only went to the ocean’s bottom, but failed to carry enough lifeboats for all the passengers. The new technology of the early 20th century blossomed on the killing fields of Europe in WWI, “the war to end all wars.” Tanks, airplanes, and poison gas gave way to politicians and their unenlightened peace in 1918 that set the stage for a second world war. Our corporate leaders? They produced one of the greatest economic collapses in history by 1929.
Human arrogance and disregard for other human lives.
But, of course, now we’re more enlightened with our internet, smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Iron has given way to microchips, but humans are still humans.
The banking crisis of 2008 that was supposed to be impossible ruined countless lives. The vast internet and its potential, the cornerstone of our Digital Age, is already abused via human shortcomings. Children bullied into suicide, hacking, and advertising saturation. The child labor of the early 20th century has become the Walmart employees of the 21st century who can’t afford to feed their families. The wonders of medical technology too often brings financial ruin upon the ill. Computers track our movements. Drones kill with impunity.
It’s time for an age of benevolence, compassion, and true equality, an Age of Humanity.
In the secret name of self-interest we exclude and dehumanize based on income level, skin color, health, place of birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, and a host of other frivolous differentiations. Then we hide behind religion, political parties, or corporate rights as reasons why those people should be treated different than us.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell wrote that 70 years ago and it still holds true. In this country African Americans were freed long ago, yet are still shot on our streets for having the wrong skin color. Advertisers still wink at rape culture. Too often how harsh your punishment for a crime depends upon the color of your skin, your collar, or your ability to pay for a high-priced attorney. Illnesses and handicaps we can’t readily discern are mocked. What I do in my bedroom is considered wrong by those fearful that others might discover what they’re doing in their bedroom. We’re creating an Age of Shame where the shame is everyone else’s and not our own because we’re too busy being offended by anyone different.
We’ve achieved technological greatness in the Digital Age, yet hypocritical double-standards, glass ceilings, and prejudice-with-a-smile soldier on. Instead of each person having a value of ONE we’re assigned a value determined by our health insurance.
Let the Age of Humanity be “for [all] the people.”
The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution is clear:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
“Any person.” “Equal protection.” I don’t see an except…
Yet we bicker over an ever smaller pie while some stack the pies they own. We, the arrogant masters of our domain, damage our shores, our air, and our land (most recently via fracking) even though our advanced technology is capable of making oil usage obsolete. Apparently, in our polluting selfishness, we’ve concluded we’re now also better than the generations who’ll follow. “You’re trying to straighten out a wiggly world, and now you’re really in trouble.” Little did Alan Watts know that our desire to one-up mother nature would lead to us running our collective ship into a climate iceberg.
I’ve said it before and now I’ll say it again: We’re not gods, but instead caretakers upon this Earth. We must take the high road. America needs to be the beacon of freedom she professes to be and a good place to start is to treat everyone within her borders as free, as equals, as human beings. We’re better than hate, bigotry, and hypocritical selfishness. We’re capable of higher ideals than destroying our home and the life upon it for short-term greed. At least, I hope we are.
What’s the catch? Not a problem-free society, nor a utopia, for we’re more realistic than that ideal. We’ve cut our teeth on reality, not lollipops, but in a land where hopes and dreams are being strangled one-by-one it’s time for a new outlook, a new age, a social and economic renaissance. You—and I especially mean today’s younger generation—are tired of the constraints that come with old labels. So, instead of one person at the lifeboat’s helm telling us we can’t, how about we all grab an oar, work together, and say we can?
Let’s save the planet. Let’s save ourselves. Compassion, freedom, and prosperity aren’t mutually exclusive concepts unless you have it all and don’t want to share. Aren’t you tired of people telling you why not? An Age of Humanity. It’s time. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”