Two decades into the new millennium . . . what’s going on?

WARNING – This is not about sports or training. Although it is important to remember that sport does not exist independent of society. If you are looking for a challenge, an opportunity to change your life and the lives of others then read this post. If you want to read another pollyanna post on how the worst is behind us and we will have a happy new year, then stop – don’t read this. I want to challenge you, like I am challenging myself to help make the world a better place by recognizing and acknowledging what must be changed NOW. Not ten years from now, but NOW!

I am a student of history, a first generation American whose parents came to this country 96 years ago in search of a better life, if you will in search of the American dream. For fifty-two years I have been a teacher and a coach. I have been able to travel the world and see rich and poor, good and bad. I grew up in a multiethnic neighborhood where my best Christmas present was twelve slices of salami. I was able to graduate from college and my children have both graduated from prestigious universities. My concern now is that my adult children and my new granddaughter, Taylor have a better world to live in than me.

Here is how I see the current reality. All of what I talk about going forward are challenges that represent opportunities for all of us to do better, to make a better world for Taylor, yourself, your children and grandchildren. Since the beginning of the new millennium, we have heralded the advances in technology. They have been head spinning. Information and access to it has exploded. But those changes have come at a cost. We have a generation that can’t do anything if there isn’t an app for it. People don’t talk they text. We have given up our privacy. Everything we do is tracked and the numbers fuel algorithms to direct what to buy, what to wear, who to date and even who to marry.

We have shut the door to immigration. When, if you look at recent history, immigration has driven much of what is positive in the US. The diversity that different cultures and languages historically are a strength. The US was built by immigrants, lest we forget.

We have watered down our education to teach to standardized tests that have created several generations of dolts with no understanding of history or civics. We spend all out time on STEM and the kids can’t read, write or think critically. We spend so much time preparing a smooth path for the children that we have neglected to prepare the child for traveling the path. We have created the unrealistic expectation that everyone must go to college while neglecting education in the trades.

Almost a century and half after the Emancipation Proclamation racial disparity is worse that it has ever been, Black lives do matter! Also, with the racial disparity the gap between the haves and have-nots has widened to historic proportions. A proposed increase in minimum wage would at best raise people up to the poverty line. We can do better. Homelessness is at record levels. We are the richest country in the world and yet have millions not sure when their next will be.

Fake news is accepted as the norm. Lies and half-truths are accepted from our leaders as facts. Our elected leaders are afraid to stand up and be counted for fear of not being reelected. Moral courage is nonexistent.

War has supplanted diplomacy as our foreign policy. We have retreated from the world at a time when we most need to be part of the world. We need the rest of the world, and they need us. They do not need our tanks and bombs they need our leadership and direction; we need their friendship and ideas.

We continue to ignore the realities of climate change. We can do simple things in our daily lives that will reverse global warming, but we continue on go our merry way destroying the planet.

We are in the midst of a global pandemic where the US leads the world in deaths. We have developed a vaccine  we can’t effectively distribute. What is going on? We won’t wear masks and stop playing football and more people keep dying.

Now that you have read to this point and maybe are more depressed than me, recognize that each of these problems has solutions. The problems represent opportunities for action now. I was taught and coached by the so-called greatest generation, they overcome as bad or worse adversity than what we face now. I look at what I learned from them, how our human, economic, natural resources and national character can solve these problems. We must all stand united NOW and take action; we don’t have time to kick the can down the road to future generations. We must develop our own individual action plans and implement them! We can take care of the future by what we do now. I want my granddaughter Taylor to have a better world.

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