WorldWideFuture Weblog

the future of education, politics, science and art

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President;

Congratulations on this fine day for being sworn in as the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Your speech today was outstanding. I never thought I would say this but today I wish I was American. You have come to this point to bring hope for a brighter future not only for the people you politically represent, but also for the people of the world.

I am sure you know of the joy and the hopes you have wrought from all quarters of the globe. So many of us consider you the foundation of change we hoped for from the United States of America. So many are depending on you to bring about a dramatic change of direction, to make the mark of historical change that comes once in a generation, to finally usher in the 21st century we were all expecting. It is a heavy burden no doubt. I am sure you must feel the weight of the ages, as Lincoln himself must have felt as he too tried to heal the wounds of misdirection and loss of purpose. I wonder what Lincoln would say right now? I am sure he too would be impressed with the hope you represent, and would worry about the mantle of responsibility you now wear. We on the outside of America can only trust that you will have the foresight and wisdom to fulfill your destiny as the leader of a new age.

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via web 09.01.20

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via web 09.01.20

Our hopes and fears are with you to live up to the promise of becoming the first global president of the United States. In trying economic times, with the constant threat of those who will work against freedom, we truly hope that you find the courage to defeat the forces of cynicism and insularity and protectionism that have threatened the foundations of freedom and democracy for nearly a decade now. We hope you will have the courage to end the pessimistic politics of Fortress America. We hope you will have the courage to finally make America green and to work with the rest of the world to create a truly sustainable future.

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via TV 09.01.20

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via TV 09.01.20

Long live your words last November: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Amen, Mr. President.

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January 21, 2009 Posted by | economy, future, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Puffins poop, lipstick smears and we all lose, again

I started this blog because I was concerned about “future crashing into the present” as described by Alvin Toffler in Future Shock. I hoped that my blog would be a means to keep myself actively informed and perhaps help me bring insight into a bit of the future for myself and my fellow netizens. Well, now it is election season in North America, a.k.a. the theatre of the absurd. The Americans, of course, have been at it for what seems like eternity. We here in Canada are just beginning our spectacle (well, it seems we have been at it forever too, with an ineffective minority government). The election ritual makes me ponder the impact and implications of democracy on the world wide future. First, can we hope that we will have a leadership that is informed enough about true scientific and economic factors to govern a complex society; and secondly (and more universally), does democracy in its present form work in a global economic situation? Can we hope that politicos will forego the usual self-preservation pandering to portray the future as it really needs to be?

Lessons can be learned from the current political theatre both in Canada and the US, where in the case of Canada, puffins poop and in the US lipstick hides the old guy. This is blatant pandering to the masses if there ever was one.

We live in times where we, the people must make hard decisions to secure a viable future for the next generation and beyond. The cracking of ice sheets are sounds that should be heard around the world as the dire warning they are. But is the environment even creating a single bubble in the water cooler? At least in Canada it is an issue, though clouded. In the US, the supposedly “leader of the free world”, you can hear the tumbleweeds blow by the whole issue.

In Canada, our Liberal party, currently in opposition, has come up with a plan to tax the wasteful and encourage future thinking (called the Green Shift). On first read, it looked like yet another tax grab that will never disappear (wasn’t income tax a temporary measure to pay for WWI?) But at second read it makes sense for the future if enacted as described (increase taxes on wasteful high energy consumption, decrease income taxes and tax relief for sustainable energy use). However, the Conservatives, now dressed in cozy blue sweaters, heap scorn on the plan by portraying puffins pooping on the Liberal leader Stephan Dion. The Conservatives, who used to have the word “Progressive” in front of their party name and have rightly stripped it off, have not addressed a single issue regarding the environment. They even lead a futile attempt to keep the Green party from the upcoming televised debates. Boy, we aren’t moving ahead very far, aren’t we?

Elizabeth May, head of Canada's Green Party

Elizabeth May, head of Canada's Green Party. Can the green message ever be effective in today's political theatre of the absurd? (Photo by Michael Scott, taken at Orleans town hall meeting March 22 2007)

Meanwhile, back in the US, the party of George Bush has resorted to the blatant attempt to hide any real issues by hiring an unknown woman (Sarah Palin) to run as the VP (a gun toting, bible thumping one at that!) McCain had to go all the way to Alaska to find anyone who will detract from the disastrous last eight years of their ruling mandate. I haven’t heard the word “environment” even mentioned once by the media since who knows when…the story of the day is about lipstick on pigs.

The quandary for democracy is that the hard issues…paying more for services, scaling back to cover debt or increased costs, making sacrifices for protecting the environment, making long term plans for a more sustainable future, are in direct conflict with saying the right things to get elected. The result is bowing to the lowest common denominator, while lies, deceit, clouding the issues, pandering to special interests, spending sprees (real or imaginary) and empty promises. We, the people, lose. We need to take a cold hard look at democracy and how it really works in a much more complicated, globally connected world. One just has to watch with a cynical eye any of the commercial ads by politicians to understand that we will not be served by the current crop of politicians.

There is a problem with our electoral system that precludes a true democratic process, and yet it is easy to fix. At present, if one was disenchanted and disillusioned with the political process one can either spoil their ballot or not vote at all. But either method is meaningless…the statistics just get melded into the apathetic or mistaken pile. What we need, for the furtherance of democracy and to send a clear message of distrust and disgust for the empty rhetoric of party politics is a line on every ballot: NONE OF THE ABOVE. Simply, if one is not in favour of political party pandering, deceits, false promises, empty rhetoric or hidden agendas, then one can send a message to the system to rethink and come back again with a realistic and responsible government. NONE OF THE ABOVE. We need a way to say: a successful sustainable future requires clear honest messages and serious planning that goes beyond the politics of the past. The future has crashed into the present, and has highlighted the need for a systematic retooling of our society’s infrastructure. We need to start fixing the way society is run by looking at the way people are hired to make the decisions if we want a bright world wide future.

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Environment, future, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Empty Rhetoric and the World Wide Future

Well, I finally heard it today…a candidate for US president, McCain, blab about getting jobs and moving America forward and making America great again. I think George Washington stood on the jobs platform. In the world wide future, will we put up with such empty blitherings from politicians? Same day, the G8 politicos blabbed on about cutting emissions by 2050, which of course by then they won’t be around to care. It is too painful to watch and listen; really hard to contain myself when I hear such automaton thinking and drooling. I really wish we had a watchful media to yell bloody hell when politicians utter such vacuous nonsense, but yet again, it appears no such luck. Does the public really listen and believe this stuff? I would hope not. It is long overdue for the time to end pretend democracy and get on with real public service. Unfortunately, apparently, in the world wide future, no one hears you scream.

We tell our students that to vote is a privilege and a duty, however, I find it hard to reconcile the fact that there usually is no difference between parties, and that party politics (read: special interest groups) trumps public interest too many times. What is missing from the ballot is a “none of the above” option, spoiling a ballot or not voting doesn’t allow one’s dissatisfaction to register. (More on my campaign for “Vote None of the Above” later!) In the world wide future, true democracy can be accomplished by allowing the public to vote on each issue (we have the Internet!) and by calling politicos to task on their promises directly.

It is not enough to teach students to vote, the world wide future requires us to teach them to be proactive on issues that they will face in their lives.

-Michael Scott 2008

July 9, 2008 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment