Who do we elect?
This is a political blog post. If you’re uncomfortable with that, stop reading now.
”The future of humanity is bright,” said Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, a notable indian spiritual teacher and social philosopher. I believe that. However, like Jesus coming again to redeem the world, it does not absolve us from taking responsibility to care for one another in the meantime.
I was sitting serenely this afternoon in the dome of the Light Center in Black Mountain, contemplating the globe hanging from the ceiling. I began to think about all the different people around the world – Americans, Tuareg camel herders, Chinese officials, South African Zulu, etc., and it became clear to me that the only way forward as a species was to care for one another, and that the only way to do this was to ensure that certain be guaranteed by the collective – basic needs like food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education.
Now, you likely agree that the first three of these are basic needs, but many Americans, particularly among the conservative ranks, believe the latter two are not. Well actually, the data suggest otherwise.
We know that education, i.e. the process of teaching people how to use their brains to the fullest capacity, is good for society in a multitude of ways – innovation increases, crime decreases, more people think for themselves, public health improves, among others. Everybody benefits. I therefore propose that education be guaranteed by the collective. That means it will be free from kindergarten through whatever level of college you want to go to, even the doctorate level. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by letting money be a deterrent to personal development.
Some of you object to this, however. Like Milton Friedman, you cling to the erroneous notion that the free market is a cure all for everything. Well guess what? It’s not! In trials across North America of the free market charter school system, educational outcomes were WORSE than public options. There, Mr. Nobel Prize in Economics, you were WRONG. The free market is not a cure all. It may improve your Amazon Kindle faster, make your car repairs cheaper, or get you a better bandwidth, but it doesn’t solve every problem, like, education. For that, my dear conservatives, we need targeted collective effort.
Now, am I a communist? Hell no. The government is an incredibly inefficient determiner of the prices of iPods, automobiles, computers, restaurant meals, cream of mushroom soup, and Smuckers Raspberry Preserves, and they are a bad manufacturer of automobiles, medical technology, and aircraft. The Soviet Union proved that. But basic needs like food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education, really need to insured by the collective, be it by official government decree or not.
The free market can determine the rest – like which airline you will take to Aruba, a trip you’ll be able to afford in my system because your student loans are all paid off.
So, who should we elect? I don’t know, but it should be the one who recognizes that as a species we have to support each other in our basic needs, the one who knows that to have to compete for food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education is insanity in a world where there is so much; we should elect the one who recognizes that who he/she really is is something larger than their physical body, much, much larger.