ALTERNATIVE  FUTURES

ALTERNATIVE  FUTURES

‘We the People’ are ‘Better Togther’

Follow the Flow

For the last five years I have been writing a novel I call ‘Follow the Flow.’ The story of my heroes Bryan and Joy, takes place in 1968, 2008, and now, but another story also blends in with their modern day story. The other story follows the flow of enlightenment from generation to generation, where each new generation, including Brian and Joy, have to rediscover and sometimes add to the wisdom and knowledge of the past. We stand on the shoulders of past generations, who have shown us ‘the way.’ We merely have to re-discover and re-ignite the flame inside of us, which has been passed down the line of revelation  from Hermes to Laozi, Pythagoras, Buddha, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Lucretius, Jesus, Seneca, Plotinus, Boethius, Rumi, Master Eckert, Bruno, Spinoza, Voltaire, Emerson, Gandhi, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Merton and now to us. I have written this novel to help motivate the beginning of a ‘new era of opportunity’ and enlightenment. It is my hope, that this ‘new era’ is waiting just under the surface and will lift the world into a ‘new awakening’ of wisdom, love, compassion and generosity for the common good of all.

A Tipping Point

However, as I am reaching the end of the novel, I realize the ending could go either of two ways. I believe the world is now at a ‘tipping point’ and instead a new era of harmony, which emphasizes our common good and brings dignity to every human being, the world may be moving toward chaos. There are two forces that rule the cosmos:  The first force has a tendency to self-organize, where quantum particles naturally organize themselves into atoms, atoms into molecules, molecules into cells and cells into life. Opposing this force is a force called entropy, which tears everything apart. However, humanity has the ability to overcome entropy and make gardens out of jungles. Darwin only had it half right when he said; ‘it’s the survival of the strongest individual.’  It’s also the survival of the strongest community.

At the Crossroads

Which will it be; ‘a new era of opportunity’ of enlightenment, OR an era of continued grievances of ‘us’ verses ‘them,’ which has polarized our country and a ‘hyper-individualism’ which has normalized selfishness? We are fighting each other instead of protecting the fabric of democracy. It is my hope that we are witnessing the last vestiges of a backlash to our new globalized economy and multicultural society and that today’s chaos, will be a motivator for a change to benefit the common good. We have got to move from fear to hope. In order to achieve harmony, we need to change from emphasizing our differences, to opening up to our connectedness. However, we are at the crossroads, as our future, can go either way.

THE GOOD NEWS

Gospel is the Old English translation of Greek εὐαγγέλιον, meaning “good news”. The good news is that the future can look like this: 1) Combatting climate change has been very difficult. However, The United Nations General Assembly finally got worldwide cooperation in banning fossil base power plants and the elimination of the internal combustion engine. The world is now quickly achieving alternative non-carbon energy sources. While the effects of past mistakes are still obvious, rising seas have stopped, the average world temperature is stabilizing and the planet is returned to a state of equilibrium. 2) The United Nations General Assembly negotiated the end of nuclear weapons. Last year, the world saw the end of the last nuclear weapon and the world is now nuclear free. As the world is now a much safer place, we can spend less on defense and more on education, infrastructure and a social safety net.

As more women joined politics, politicians became more ‘bipartisan’ and cooperative. ‘We the people’ were therefore able to pass legislation as follows: 3) Health care for all in the US progressed a little at time, as we first passed legislation that gave Medicare to those under thirteen years of age and to those under 58. Little by little, incrementally, we increased the age of the younger recipients and lowered the age of the older recipients, until the two sides have now met, giving Medicare for all. The US now spends only 10% of its GDP on health care (instead of 18% in 2019) and yet has one of the best medical care systems and the lowest infant mortality rate among all developed nations. 4) Income inequality has been substantially reduced, as taxes on the rich have been substantially increased, a minimum corporate tax level set and maximum corporate management compensation levels have been set at 62 times the average employee.  The proceeds of increased taxes on the rich and decreased defense spending, have been used to pay for 2 years of college or trade school education for all and a ‘guaranteed minimum income’ level set, which has eliminated poverty. 5) The proceeds of increased taxes on the rich and decreased defense spending have been used to rebuild our infrastructure. 6) We stopped the effects of gerrymandering on voting districts with a bipartisan committee.  It is hard to believe now, but in the 2016 election, the Republicans took over the House with only 49% of the vote. And we expanded the Voting Rights Act, to make it easier for citizens to register and to vote. And we ended Citizens United.  This ended the ruling which on January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court decided in the Citizens United ruling, to open the door for unlimited election spending by corporations. 7) We reinstalled the Glass Stiegel Act. Without it, banks acted unethically between their banking and Investment Banking functions. In addition, we passed regulations on our banks and inforce old Dodd/Frank rules, so as to prevent the banks from getting the world into another financial crisis 8) We passed bipartisan legislation to regulate automatic weapons. No more AK-47’s in public hands. 9) We passed bipartisan legislation for an Immigration Act that gave illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.  10) The Federal government now sponsors a ‘Retirement Savings Fund’ that guarantees a 3 ½% return for retirement accounts. (The rate will go up if the Fed fund rate goes higher). The Federal government sponsored ‘Retirement Savings Fund’ helps with the average American and their saving planning and keeps the ‘average investor’s’ retirement funds out of the dangerous stock market.  This has made retirement planning a lot easier and safer. 11) We prioritized a defense against ‘cyber-attacks.’ The next war will probably not be nuclear or a ground war, but one that is waged against your privacy and bank accounts.

We are now asking for a Constitutional Convention which will call for the following: 12) The end of the Electoral College for the presidential election. The president will be elected by the majority of the vote. And, we want to set term limits for our Senators, Congressmen and for Supreme Court judges. Supreme Court Justices and all Federal judges will be elected by the public for a term of six years, with a limit of two terms. House members will serve a three year term, with a two term limit. Senators will be elected every six years, with a two term limit.

13). The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been pending passage for a long time and we think now is the time for the amendment to be and ratified by the states. The proposed amendment to the US Constitution is designed to guarantee equal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex or race. Yes, we just added race to the amendment. Why not, America is a true melting pot of all races and we now have a multiracial and multicultural society. Maybe pretty soon we will be one race, the human race.

In this ‘new era of opportunity’ we have changed from fear to hope. We have chosen peace over war, mercy over violence, understanding over righteousness, forgiveness over punishment, gratefulness over ingratitude, virtuous over the unethical, compassion over intolerance, openheartedness over judgment, humility over pride, love over hate, joy over anger, community over selfishness, generosity over greed and being merciful over cruelty. We have shifted our priorities, from the battlefields of war to human dignity and from violence to compassion. We have become aware of our potential, both individually and as a great nation. We have opened up a new era of opportunity, which emphasizes our common good and brings dignity to every human being. We have achieved this harmony, by opening up to our connectedness.

OR 

THE END OF DAYS

All ‘end of days’ stories describes an eschatology given by the major world religions, which have predictions that world events and history will reach a climax in chaos, greed, lust, poverty, ill will, violence, murder, impiety, physical weakness, sexual depravity, plagues, rising seas and societal collapse.

This is the alternative story: The purge called the ‘Great Again Uprising’  is part of a movement by the federal government to purge, through ‘executive orders,’ all elements of America that the President of the United States, through ‘executive privilege,’ deems as ‘corrupt’ and using Presidential ‘emergency powers’ to re-impose traditional values that he deems, will make America great again. The ‘Great Again Uprising’ is similar to China’s ‘Cultural Revolution,’ launched by Mao Zedong between 1966 and 1976. The day on which the purge struck, is called ‘Purification Day’ and is similar to ‘Crystal Night,’ carried out against the Jews by the Hitler in 1938. On ‘Purification Day’, through his ‘emergency powers, the Presidents banned all political parties, closed Congress, declared The US a ‘Christian Nation’ and set various new rules of conduct for US citizens.

New rules since ‘Purification Day,’ call for all ‘conspiracy authors,’ to be banned through an ‘executive order,’ creating a federal ‘List of Prohibited Books.’ The President, through his ‘emergency powers,’ has ordered that all books on the ‘List’ of ‘conspiracy authors,’ be burned when found and that those who possess these books, should be punished with prison terms and an abhorrent ‘re-education program,’ reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 novel.

In the past, civilization always struggled between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community. However, now all that has changed, as all factions have lost to Big Government. That is big with a capital B and a capital G for government. Today, the President and through his crony/pal corporate executives, decide who wins and who loses in every aspect of American life. Through a set of legal constraints and regulations, the president alone sets the rules in such a way that observing the rules is impossible to follow. For those companies of which the president approves, he hands out monopolistic licenses to his cronies, who after swearing ‘unquestionable loyalty and allegiance’ and making cash payments to him,  are allowed to break the rules, so their companies can succeed. This method was first successfully applied and practiced by Vladimir Putin in Russia during the late 2010’s.

Before the United States fell into the grips of a ruthless Imperial Presidency, there were thousands of corporations that competed with each other. Today, there are only thirteen big corporations, known as Big Corps.  Each of the Big Corps has a monopoly in a designated area of the US economy. You either work for one of these Big Corps, or you don’t work. If any of the people in the management of these Big Corps does anything that displeases the President, he uses the countries corrupt legal system to punish them. However, as long as the Imperial President approves of the Big Corp’s management activities and he get a cut of the action, these corporations are allowed to run their enterprises with impunity, without borders and are unchallenged by completion. The Imperial President controls the Big Corps and the Big Corps control every facet of commerce and every aspect of an individual’s life.

The thirteen Big Corps are as follows: Big Banks, Big News, Big Ed, Big Health, Big Energy, Big Agra, Big Retail, Big Trans, Big Man, Big Legal, Big Entertainment, Big Science and Big Nature. A summary of each Big Corp’s areas of control are as follows: Big Banks Corp: This company is in effect, the Federal Reserve, a government agency which controls the banks, which control every aspect of Treasury securities, currency, money supply, Investment banking, securities markets, interest rates, business loans, personal loans, mortgages, Insurance, credit cards and investment advisors.  Loans are ‘not’ given on a basis of financial ability or competence, but on one’s political connections and loyalty to the president.

Big News Corp: This company controls all aspects of the reporting of the news including newspapers, magazines, internet, TV, radio, social networking, non-fiction books and personal phones. All news activity is monitored and analyzed by algorithms, which can identify possible government policy decenters. Sedition laws impose prison punishment for violators who disagree with government policy.

Big Ed Corp: All education entities and courses are controlled by this company, which includes pre-school, grade school, high school, colleges and universities. Text books are published by this corporation. Only those children of Big Corp’s management executives can attend pre-school and later apply for college or universities. Before attending a college or university a candidate must first, in a formal ceremony, swear loyalty and allegiance to the President. Trade school training can be offered to non-management employees, at the recommendation of Big Corp’s management executives. This power of management over employees helps control employees actions and keeps them loyal to management.

Big Health Corp: All hospitals, pharmaceutical production and medical doctors and nurses are employed by this company.  Hearth Care is only available to Big Corp’s employees and their immediate family members. In addition, Big Corps’ management executives have available to them ‘gene modification techniques,’ which can eliminate diseased and improve intelligence of their offspring.  All those that do not qualify for Big Corp’s Health Care and have health problems, are sent to designate insolation control centers.

Big Energy Corp: This company is in charge of all carbon based and alternative non-carbon based energy, including nuclear power. This corporation provides energy through auto stations and electric utilities. All federal lands are available for energy production and all ‘private’ lands are available through an eminent domain process. The US military is available to assist Big Energy in obtaining drilling and shale mining rights in foreign countries. Those countries that resist cooperation are subject to US military action. This military policy is causing US military forces to be constantly at war somewhere in the world. Currently, because of its activities in the Middle East, this policy is putting the world in danger of a worldwide nuclear war.

Big Agra Corp: This company is in charge of all agriculture food production, grocery stores and restaurants. The government decides what product will be produced and in what quantity. All agriculture is produced on land that has been confiscated by the federal government. Individuals are not allowed to have personal vegetable garden or to raise animals for food or egg production. Big Retail Corp: All retail stores and on line purchases are owned by this company. Big Trans Corp: All airlines, railroads, delivery trucks, roads and bridges are owned and maintained by this corporation. Big Man Corp: This Corporation is in charge of all manufacturing and construction. Currently big profits are being made through the demand for the production of sea walls.

Big Entertainment Corp: This company is in charge all entertainment that is produced by television, movies, radio or live performances and books of fiction. This includes literature, plays, music, the visual arts, religious ceremonies and sports. Sporting events are designed by this company to bring euphoria to the masses and to show the futility of an individual performance. In order to defeat the individual’s star’s performances, when a winner emerges or an individual outperforms another, that individual is then put to a disadvantage, with equalizing restraints. In this way the process nullifies any individual effort with humiliation. All entertainment activity is monitored and analyzed by algorithms, which can identify possible government policy decenters. Once again ‘Sedition laws’ allow prison punishment for violators who disagree with government policy.

Places of worship have been confiscated under eminent domain procedures and are owned by the federal government for use by this company. Each religion is allowed one ‘Holy Place’ that is exempt from holding books of ‘conspiracy authors.’ However, only Christian places are allow for meetings of 6 people or more for worship ceremonies, baptism, marriage and funerals. All ministers and priests are employees of this company and must pledge allegiance to the President as the leader of their religion and the country. All other religious ceremonies for all other religions are only allowed in ‘private homes’ and for and only for immediate family members. The courts have ruled that the ‘at home’ provision and the availability one ‘Holy Place,’ which is ‘exempt’ from holding books of ‘conspiracy authors,’ ‘complies’ with the constitutional requirement of ‘freedom of religion.’ This corporate takeover of religion was made possible by a constitutional convention, where the participants agreed that the United States of America was created by our ‘Christian,’ ‘Founding Fathers’ and it was there intent for the United States to be a ‘Christian Nation.’ By giving religious power to this Big Corp, Christian organizations received in exchange; the desired designation that the United States is a ‘Christian Nation’ and with it, the ‘limitation restrictions’ of all other public practices of conflicting religions.

Big Legal Corp: This company is in charge of all courts and lawyers and the prison system. At the same constitutional convention that gave status to the US being a ‘Christian Nation,’ it was decided to privatize the legal system. In addition, it was decided to allow the president to appoint or dismiss Supreme Court Justices at ‘the pleasure of the president,’ without the approval of Congress. The reasoning to privatize the legal system was that this corporate entity would be more ‘efficient,’ than the previous legal system that was overly burdened with delays and appeals. To justify this corporate takeover of the courts, supporters referred to, William Penn’s quote “To delay justice is injustice,” which has become a well-known legal maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Legal decisions are now quick and cannot be repealed, except by the Supreme Court, which the president controls. In addition to being in charge of prisons, this company is in charge ‘re-education programs’ and ‘control centers’ for the un-healthy. Once again ‘Sedition laws’ allow prison punishment for violators who disagree with this government policy.

Big Science Corp:  This Corporation employs all scientists and is in charge of scientific research and manufacturing of all hardware and software for computers and phones. In addition this company regulates all Wi–Fi and search engines. All research reports must comply with government policy. All hardware and software are equipped with algorithms that identify decenters of government policy.

Big Nature Corp: This Corporation controls all access to federal, state and municipal land and parks. In addition this company controls all rights to water, forests, mining, oil and grazing. It is designated to work together with Big Energy Corp, Big Man and Big Agra Corp, so as to maximize production.

This is the kind of world, which can be best described as a doggy-eat-dog world of the oppressors feeding on the weaknesses of the oppressed. The US is on the brink of a worldwide nuclear war, rising seas that are treating all coastal cities like New York City and most of the United States is living in poverty. Class warfare has come to an end, because there are only be two classes, the extremely wealthy who have the ‘Presidential Approval Rating,’ Big Corps Management Executives and 98% of everyone else, living in poverty.

If you want to know what life is like today under these circumstances, here is a quote from Orwell’s novel 1984 (now banned), “There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But — always there will be the intoxication of [Presidential] power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be [the President’s] thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.”

One might well ask, how did all this chaos happen? The ‘Imperial Presidency’ didn’t happen all at once. However, little by little over the years, all power eventually wound up in the hands of the President. Most people believe the tendency toward an Imperial Presidency started with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. No, he was just the first of the US presidents to be ruthless enough to take full advantage of presidential powers. It turns out there are flaws in our US Constitution. The powers that Trump and others have used and abused started a long time before he was elected. Basically the President of the United States obtains his powers through the US Constitution, which include those powers explicitly granted by Article II of the  Constitution, powers granted by Acts of Congress and  ‘implied powers.’ It is in the interpretation of the ‘implied powers,’ of the president, that have helped to create the Imperial Presidency. The problem with the United States Constitution is that it has been interpreted to grant the president broad powers to issue rules, regulations and instructions, which have the binding force of law, and ‘do not’ require approval of the United States Congress. Actually, as with a lot of presidential powers, the implied powers of the presidency began with George Washington in the form of ‘executive orders,’ ‘executive privilege’ and ‘emergency powers’’

All presidents, beginning with George Washington in 1789, with the exception of William Henry Harrison, have issued orders that in general terms can be described as ‘Executive orders.’ These executive orders ‘do not’ have to be approved by Congress.  They have often been used for the good of the people, such as by Theodore Roosevelt, who protected natural lands, but also for the bad by Donald Trump, to hurt the environment. Unfortunately, because of the Congress became so polarized with ‘political gridlock,’ presidential executive orders over time became common place  and the only way to get anything done, which   became ‘the’ major force in government policy.

There are also presidential ‘Executive privileges,’ which gives the president the ability to withhold information from the public, Congress, and the courts in the name of national security. George Washington first claimed executive privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice John Jay‘s notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution, Washington’s action created the precedent for the privilege. President Trump abused this power during the Muller Report and in his impeachment proceedings, by refusing to abide by subpoenas issued by Congress and the Senate let him get away with this abuse of power. Ever since then, this power has been abused by every president, as the president considers himself ‘above the law’ and is not accountable to Congress for oversight.

Then, there are ‘Emergency Powers’ that a president can claim is in the best interests of governing for the people. Since laws or the US Constitutions fail to provide clear guidelines about what constitutes an emergency, we must turn once again to George Washington and also Abraham Lincoln, who were among the first to use emergency presidential action. In order to avoid being drawn into a war between Britain and France, President Washington issued a proclamation declaring that the United States would remain neutral in such a conflict even though the Constitution does not expressly grant him the power to make such a decision. A claim of ‘emergency powers’ was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of ‘habeas corpus,’ without Congressional approval in 1861.  With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension of ‘habeas corpus’ in Ex parte Merryman, but Lincoln ignored the order. This action of Lincoln and Trump to be ‘above the law,’ was the real beginning of the Imperial Presidency.

So, one of the flaws in the United States Constitution is that it has been interpreted to grant the president broad ‘implied powers,’ in the form of ‘Commander-and-Chief,’ ‘executive orders, ‘executive privilege,’ and ‘emergency powers’ to issue rules, regulations and instructions and deploy troops which have the binding force of law, and ‘does not’ need the approval of the United States Congress.

However, there is another flaw in the US Constitution. It is common to say the United States is a democracy, but it isn’t.  The US constitution has made us a Republic.  In a democracy you vote on every issue, like in a town meeting.  In a Republic, we elect officials that are supposed to represent us. What if they don’t represent us? Our political system of a Republic is built on ‘geographic inequities,’ which favor the rural areas, over the dense cities. The ‘geographic inequities,’ which favor the rural areas over the dense cities, was glaring obvious in the Senate and in our Electoral College process that elected our president. This created a government that is whiter, older and more Christian than the country as a whole even though the US has become more multi-racial and multicultural. As a backlash against a more multi-racial and multicultural nation, these divisions eventually caused a polarize government and gridlock in the Congress.

The ‘Separation of Powers’ in the US constitution was devised by our ‘Founding Fathers’ to prevent any of the three branches s of government from dominating the government. Through a system of ‘checks and balances,’ the constitution was supposed to provide a means to prevent an Imperial Presidency. However, our governmental system, unlike the Parliamentary system or any other functioning government system that I know of, gives power to the minority, through ‘geographic inequities. The House was usually controlled by the Democrats, because most people that vote are Democrats. However, most States were Republican, thereby giving then the power of the Senate. In order for legislation to be passed, both the House and the Senate would have to reach compromises. The ‘polarizing ideology’ of ‘us’ verses ‘them,’ made compromise impossible, thereby allowing ‘gridlock.’ And the voters let it happen! The ‘Imperial Presidency’  gained power a little at time, as different faction of ‘us’ and ‘them’ fought each other, instead of protecting the fabric of democracy.

To gain the power of an Imperial Presidency,’ the presidential office,  over the years, used a method as simple as applying the algorithm of Phillip of Macedonia’s ‘divide and conquer’ by encouraging  divisions in the US as follows:  1) The young dislike the old for having to pay for their Medicare and the old to dislike the young for taking their jobs away from them with technology2) The rural people  dislike people in the cities as havens of black crime and people in the cities  dislike the rural people because the rural people take the taxes from the wealthy cities to pay for the rural peoples dispersed inefficient infrastructure. 3) White people dislike immigration, as they feel Mexicans and other ethnic groups are taking away their jobs and that all Muslims are terrorists. People who live with immigrants believe these rural white people are raciest. Also most white people throughout the country dislike a multicultural society, that they feel is being forced on them by city people. 4) People who live in Blue States dislike people who live in Red States because even though the Blue States have more wealth and population, the Red States are favored in elections by gerrymandering in the House of Representatives and constitutionally by smaller populated Red States, which dominate the Senate. 5) People in Southern Red States dislike people who live in Northern Blue States because they believe Northern Blue States are forcing civil rights legislation and voting rights legislation down their throats. Blue States dislike Red State people who they call racists.  6) ‘Pro-life’ people accuse ‘freedom of choice’ people of murder and the ‘freedom of choice people’ accuses the opposition of not respecting ‘women’s rights.’  7) Some scientists call Global warming a hoax, angering environmentalists. 8) Some 50% of the voting public, call the media the ‘enemy of the people,’ which angers the other half. 9) The under-educated dislike the  highly-educated and are calling them ‘elitists’ and the highly-educated look down on the under-educated and are call them ‘rubes’ and stupid. 10) Young people became angry with Universities, as higher education became unaffordable and burdened the student with huge student debt.  The young graduates eventually became indenture servants of the corporations. 11) The capitalists called the liberals ‘socialists’ and the liberals called the capitalists ‘selfish.’  

Up until Obama, the US form of ‘democracy’ worked, because politicians always found a way to negotiate a compromise and do what is best for the country. Since the 2008, the ‘polarization of politics,’ has resulted in divisions of ideology that crippled Congress’s ability to act. These divisions offered the opportunity for the ‘Imperial President’ to emerge.

IT IS NOT TOO LATE!

I could go on, because the grievances of ‘us’ verses ‘them’ are endless and HAS polarized the United States. All that bickering has to stop, as the ‘polarization’ and our ‘irreconcilable differences,’ COULD empower chaos. I obviously used my imagination to view ‘the end of days’ as extreme. I did that to make a point, that unless we are more diligent, it could happen here. This reminds me of the song, by Joni Mitchel of Yellow Taxi, with the profound words “You don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.”

The ‘end of days’ scenario also reminds me of the pome called ‘First they came, written in 1946 by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. The poem is about the naiveté of the German people in not stopping Nazi power as it incrementally purged freedom and their chosen targets, one at a time. It deals with themes of persecutionguiltrepentance, and responsibility.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

These times also reminds me of the courage of people in the past who sacrificed their lives for our dignity and freedom. I think of Socratics who took the hemlock, of Jesus on the cross, of Bruno who was burned the stake, of Boethius who was burgeoned to death and the assignation of Martin Luther King Jr. These people and more, have come before us and have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. The current situation of pledging ‘unquestionable loyalty and allegiance’ to the president,’ particularly reminds me of Sir Thomas More. Thomas More was Chancellor to Henry VIII, a Renaissance humanist and wrote Utopia, published in 1516, about the political system of an imaginary ideal state. However, when King Henry enacted a law in 1534, declaring him supreme ruler of the world over everyone and required all citizens to accept this by taking an oath called the ‘Oath of Supremacy.’ Sir Thomas More refused. He was beheaded in the Tower of London on July 6, 1535. This is the kind of courage it takes for enlightenment to prevail.

My purpose of writing this essay is to promote an appreciation of how precious and privileged we are in 2020. We have a choice! Looking back through history, my studies have shown that the periods of Enlightenment have been but brief interludes in an otherwise sea of darkness. More frequent have been times when the forces of irrationality, war, greed, bigotry, ignorance, suffrage, superstition and chaos have ruled.  However, the future is not written in stone, it is the past that is written in stone. The future is in our hands. Today, the only thing we can alter for certain, is the now moment. Make the most of it. Don’t accept that things are unchangeable. If you believe the future is written in stone, take out your hammer and chisel. Get out of the viewing stands and get onto the playing field. ‘We the People’ are Better Togther. It is not too late!

“Yesterday is history,
tomorrow is a mystery,
and today is a gift…
that’s why they call it present”

We have to open up to a ‘new era of opportunity,’ which emphasizes our common good and brings dignity to every human being. We have to achieve this harmony, by opening up to our connectedness.

Carl M Birkelbach

4/22/2020 Earth Day

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