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A Glimpse into the Future
"Postcards from Israel - Postcards from America" ^ | November 4, 2009 | Norma Zager

Posted on 11/07/2009 2:05:28 PM PST by Ari Bussel

A Glimpse into the Future By Norma Zager

“Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parent, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers” Socrates(470-399 B.C.)

Despite the constant egregious flow of rhetoric from our obnoxious politicians, the voice of reason occasionally emerges like a small flower through the weeds in surprising places.

Last evening in my university classroom, I was taken by the fresh bloom emerging through the dense grass of our all-too-common uncivil social discourse.

Although narcissistic politicians would have us all believe the American people condone their vision for future generations, I was quite hopeful to hear the cascade of passionate discourse emanating from the mouths of my students.

Believing in our arrogance we know best what will serve our children, we content ourselves to bungle forward toward what we envision as that more perfect world.

But what do our children actually want and what is their version of perfection? If we ever bothered to ask, I assure you we may find the answers thoughtful and surprising. I did.

As an assignment, I asked my class to imagine they were the King of the World and could correct any wrong or injustice. What would be the first problem they sought to solve and how would they begin?

To say I was pleasantly surprised and quite taken aback by the things they found problematic in their universe would be an understatement. Not terribly shocked by what I heard as much as what I didn’t, I confess I was impressed and a tad more hopeful for the future of our country.

The students’ responses made even the more relevant by the fact there was a preponderance of students from the lower socio-economic universe.

Poverty was mentioned a few times. What to do? How to cure it? No easy answers and they understood this well. One student suggested taking money from other places and putting it toward feeding the poor. Creating more jobs, building more shelters were a few suggestions. All worthy, but a long-term solution seemed out of their immediate grasp.

Public Transportation was at the forefront of their concerns. This, they believed, could solve two important problems: high gas prices and air pollution.

One student suggested using parking ticket fees to build more public transit. Another suggested driving less to lower demand.

A subject on which they all vehemently agreed was teen pregnancy and bad parenting.

They were greatly offended by the behaviors parents condoned including sexy dancing and behaviors in public at a young age.

Adamantly against young women becoming mothers, they believed it was bad parenting that led to these problems.

How to solve it? Teach parenting in the high schools to prevent the mistakes before they occur. Safe sex courses were imperative to prevent pregnancy and disease.

They all agreed parenting classes at younger ages would help solve many problems, including teen pregnancy and one they focused on quite a bit, obesity.

One student who had lost 200 pounds was adamant children should be fed correctly, and the class agreed healthier menus should be served in schools. They condemned fried foods and said parents should play a role in teaching good eating habits and feeding their family healthier diets. Educating children at a young age about the dangers and health risks of obesity would be a positive way to tackle the problem. Most agreed fast foods on every corner have contributed greatly to America’s health problems and would like to see them serve healthier fare.

One young man in the class stated his belief a law should be passed preventing pregnant women from smoking or drinking. How would you enforce this I asked?

“If it’s against the law they could be charged with child abuse.”

It was a revelation how many students were passionate about the responsibilities of good parenting.

Another hot button issue was racism. How to fix it? Not sure, but speaking racism and hatred was a big no no for this group.

Pedophiles weren’t left out of the mix. The class wanted stronger laws and were very much in favor of websites listing where they lived.

Speaking of websites, one student raised the question of shutting down harmful websites, including those that teach kids how to be bulimic. They were very pro Internet policing and said the FBI should take a bigger role in catching Internet criminals.

Many said parents shouldn’t let their children walk alone from school or be left without adult supervision. They also agreed every adult should be diligent about watching all kids, not just their own.

The vote favored changing the prison system and keeping lower crime offenders totally separate from hard-core criminals.

One student suggested legalizing marijuana to raise state revenues. That led to an interesting discussion over driving and drugs.

Healthcare was mentioned, but they showed little grasp of what it would entail and many were shocked to learn programs like Medicaid already exist.

Immigration was only discussed in terms of the “Dream Act.” One student who was highly in favor told the class about the currently proposed act to allow children who had been brought here illegally by their parents and grew up in the US to remain and become citizens.

One student argued nothing could actually be ultimately changed because these bad situations would always exist. Some agreed but believed passing stronger laws would help alleviate some crime.

The most surprising outcome of the conversation was what they omitted from their lists.

No one mentioned terrorism as a problem.

When asked how they would protect the country from homicide bombers, they believed securing the borders would do little because anyone could just as easily come in legally and set off a bomb.

Surprisingly, they all agreed they would endorse a national security card to prevent terrorism.

Sitting there listening to these young people I was truly surprised at how unhappy the ACLU would have been at hearing their opinions on a variety of subjects.

They seemed to care about issues that directly impacted their lives and were serious about using prevention as a force to combat many of these problems.

Shockingly, quite conservative in many of their views, they showed true passion for their individual causes.

What I noted most was the predominately personal rather than global view. No one expressed concerned about Iran, North Korea or China owning the world or our national debt. They did, however, voice displeasure over the financial implications of the deficit on their futures.

Very little concern was displayed concerning global warming, seals disappearing or Afghanistan, Iraq, the UN or education. I have not heard the word Darfur mentioned.

These young people are concerned with problems that affect them on a daily basis and directly intrude on their lives. They were focused on the future and ways to make it better.

I was happy to see the display of passion and involvement and perhaps they are correct to attack problem solving on a smaller scale. Unlike so many of us, including myself, who spin their wheels ad nauseam charging headlong toward the windmills of global craziness, they were poised.

Although they didn’t possess the necessary solutions, somehow I was content they would seek and create them eventually. I also have hope vital issues that had gone unnoticed would soon emerge and present their challenges whether welcome or not.

I am not at all disappointed they do not yet possess the answers that plague us all but encouraged they still believe they will someday exist.

After all, no one can completely save the world from its own insanity, perhaps we should stop and look closer to home.

In the end all heartily agreed that making one’s own self stronger, happier and healthier in mind and body would go a long way toward making the entire world a better place.

I truly believe they just may be onto something.

### In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this “point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives. Feel free to share with others.

© Postcards from Home, November, 2009 Contact:

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: California
KEYWORDS: america; future; vision; youth

1 posted on 11/07/2009 2:05:29 PM PST by Ari Bussel
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To: Ari Bussel

They sound like a bunch of little totalitarians-in-training to me.

2 posted on 11/07/2009 2:14:07 PM PST by eclecticEel (The Most High rules in the kingdom of men ... and sets over it the basest of men.)
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To: Ari Bussel

Pass laws on everything. Make everything a crime. Young commies in training.

3 posted on 11/07/2009 2:41:21 PM PST by JoeMac ("Dats all I can stands 'cuz I can't stands no more!'' Popeye The SailorMan)
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