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Youth on the move (08/19/2007)
By Janet Lewis Burns
"Across the country, college campuses are brewing with creative campaigns to bypass Washington and reengage the world." "We'll need to work with others, listen to their ideas, and sometimes follow their lead." -Hannah Lobel, "What It Will Take To Take Back The World"

We may be underestimating the wisdom of our young people. It seems they have a handle on what's going on in a world growing more compact, with diverse cultural interaction more and more prevalent. As corporate America and U.S. politicians seem to be turning inward, to fulfill personal aspirations out of greed and assumed superiority, a new generation is paying attention to global connections.

Young adults have insights and principles of their own, as they gravitate to a new "international order." United States students and young innovative entrepreneurs live on campuses and work with those of various cultures and races. They party together, attend classes side by side, rap with one another, and intermarry.

In the July-August Utne magazine, Hannah Lobel addresses our country's loss of clout in the world in her article "Redeeming America." She cites the most common strategies for restoring America's status in the world today:

"Reengage the international community. Take the lead on climate change. Drop the pursuit of a more advanced nuclear arsenal. Ensure that government can provide basic services. Rejoin the International Criminal Court. Bring back habeas corpus. Commit to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Stop torturing people."

The younger generation seems to be "getting it." Americans must become aware of the rest of the world to restore our moral credibility. You wouldn't know there's a war going on by the news media's broadcasts, as they dwell on brainless footage of starlets doing drugs and alcohol! We need voices from the frontlines, reality!

Our citizens continue to believe that we are the world's super power, immune to countless dangers, such as the spread of infectious diseases, tainted food imports, looming environmental catastrophes, and failed states. President Bush has been accused of squandering "the goodwill of the world with a disastrous war of choice in Iraq, then began a dizzying campaign of disengagement from international accords on critical global issues, such as arms control, torture, and climate change," Lobel states.

Our younger generation is already at work "rewiring our national character." They have launched a movement of global connections, holding videoconferences on U.S.- Islamic relations with their cohorts in Jordan and Indonesia. Seth Green, president of the student union at the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, remarked, ""¦it's time for the country to craft a more cooperative and sensible approach to the world." It seems the U.S. has forsaken its position as mediator of conflicts through intensive consultations with other countries.

National security has been compromised by U.S. armed forces' present situation, that of being stretched to the limit at war in Iraq. Any threat from us now would have little steam to back it up. Enemies of the United States are wallowing in the political unrest and turmoil festering in our country.

Young adults have inherited a complicated and mismanaged state of affairs, but they are far more worldly and globally informed than the Baby Boomer generation. Many have studied abroad. Foreign-policy strategies foster dialogue to "balance the hard power of the military and the soft power of persuasion."

Tom Engelhardt, Bush critic, addresses college graduates by saying, "But the Iraq War, our oil dependency, even the potentially massive effects of global warming might all respond to a new surge of can-doism."

A world together can vanquish the evil of terrorists. "United we stand. Divided we fall." Adults need to tap into knowledge and experiences of an upcoming leadership before it becomes too late to act. Our country's assumed superiority within the "International Community" will only stifle efforts to attain freedom and justice for all.

Carry on, young people! The challenge preempts your future.

Janet Burns has been a lifelong resident of Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@earthlink.net



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