SPECIAL TO THINK & ASK
Maybe Uncle Sam would like to experience other roles before his time is up. If indeed the cop made a career change, what would he do? In this age of multiple career changes during a lifetime, the U.S. should feel free to enter a new phase, perhaps multitask in several vocations at once, making a difference in unfamiliar ways.
Taking the lead in humanitarian endeavors, for example, looks like a natural segue, given the U.S.-role in the tsunami's wake. The U.S. has learned how to do this from the Scandinavians. What's to prevent the U.S. from really taking a lead? For all the promises of aid to Africa's nations, the U.S. still sits on its hands in terms of what it might accomplish if the will were there.
The poorer nations of Asia, such as Cambodia and its neighbors, still suffer as a populace of human minesweepers, following generations of conflict; the maimed and handicapped could really use a dozen cruise ships full of prosthetics, for starters. In South America the nation of Bolivia now sends its daughters to Europe to help make ends meet back home, while Colombia continues to bleed openly.
If the U.S. is serious about transformational community development, and meeting human needs across the spectrum, it would serve a long way toward rebuilding trust by making good deposits into the emotional bank accounts of the world. Although the U.S. has made some terrible withdrawals in the past 50 years, it might just get out of the red some day, with a different vocation.
Sooner or later, though, every humanitarian effort should lead to transformation of communities by way of good measures toward justice. It is not enough, of course, to bandage the wounds from time to time. The community developer instead looks for underlying causes and seeks to right wrongs in society. That's where a new vocation for the U.S. might come into play: Human rights advocacy.
By freeing all prisoners held without formal criminal charges (at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, base for example) the U.S. would show the world it is repenting of human-rights violations. By making human rights as much of an issue as creating democracies, the U.S. would be compelled to clean its own house first and then be able to help others whose rights are being trampled upon elsewhere.
The U.S. Patriot Act would need to be retooled to protect everyone, not just those who suspect others of evil intentions. Then, foreign policy might be as bold on the human rights front as it is in the democracy-selling areas of interest. Rights should go far beyond free elections.
When the world's ex-policeman looks around for yet another task, he could surprise people around the world by repenting of his role in environmental crimes and making at least partial restitution in the act of signing treaties and other agreements that most of the globe's citizenry have already embraced. With the technological firepower of the U.S. harnessed for environmental good, giant strides toward a return to a green world might become thinkable again. Citizens of the U.S., by nature an optimistic lot, would bring a "can do" attitude if so guided by inspirational leaders who care more about the ecospheres than the financiers.
If indeed the policeman takes a holiday and finds he likes what he sees --great potential for a more humane world-- doing what's right for its global community and greener earth, he might forever decline a patrolman's beat.
Let others share the cop's duty in a way that is fair to all. There is plenty of work for everyone. Indeed no nation is better equipped to be unthreatened by shared power, and no country carries more potential for unimaginable good, if its strengths find the right and worthy channels. Those paths for doing what's right would include the multilateral and consensus-building processes within the United Nations and the neutral credibility-building theater known as the International Court of Justice. Finally, signing on with the rest of the world on the Kyoto Treaty would win the U.S. a shipload of good will, and it might just help save our environment for another generation.
The clock of world history is ticking, and time has come time for a career change.
---This content is copyrighted by Think & Ask, reproduction of any kind is not permitted without written consent.---