It has been quite a few days around our World. since my last column. I suppose that is an understatement!!
Throughout the day, I have been monitoring Al Jazeera Reporting out on the continued upheaval and change throughout the Middle East. As I write this, Libya’s Revolution is in full swing. I could not believe the nerve that Gaddafi had when he sent his son, Saif El Islam, out on State Television to warn the protesters. It made me mad. If it made me bad, I wondered how it made Libyans feel. People have been dying on the streets of Libya as the Revolution against another despot gather steam. Two key Ambassadors for Libya have resigned and joined the Revolution. It is another Revolution that we have been witness to. Three Revolutions within one month is something that I think is unprecedented. If I am stopping to try and catch my breath, I wonder about the folks at the State Department and what they are doing now. I have seen the statements coming out of the State Department. But, the influence of the United States is clearly on the wane. The so-called Policy is in total shambles. The Economist’s KAL said it best:
Even China had Demonstrations that was inspired by what happened in Egypt and Tunisia!!
What we have to truly consider is the changing landscape of our World. The power of Social Media is ever more. The Arab Revolution of 2011 has given rise to what Marwan Bashara of Al Jazeera has called the rise of the Arab Nation. The Arab Nation is 350 Million Strong that begins from Morocco and goes all the way to Iraq. If one wanted to fly over the Arab Nation, one has to be on the Air for over Seven Hours. This is something that seems to now gathering steam that cannot be stopped despite the calls for restraint. I wonder if we would go beyond the narrow now.
Mohammad El Baradi of Egypt reminded us to leapfrog from the narrative of the 18th Century of religious and ethnic divide to a discussion of the basic issues of human rights and dignity. Yet, I see a sense of us going back throughout the Country here and now. The debate in Wisconsin and Ohio is just one example. We have to somehow figure out how to invest. We have to somehow figure out how to truly be competitive in the 21st Century that I believe has to be addressed if we have to somehow overcome this sense of malaise. Yet, we have a clamour to simply cut, cut, cut ,cut and it really continues to be of profound concern under the guise of Reform.
The plight of Main Street came home to me when I had a chance to hear the predicament of a friend. She related how she and her family were in the midst of being evicted and how they had taken steps to apply for Section 8 Housing Assistance. For the City of Laguna Niguel, I found out that there were over 60 people on the waiting list. I don’t think there is anyone in the Country that realizes that there are profound budgetary challenges. The problem is the courage that is necessary as the recovery continues to be feeble with no visible job creation in sight at least in the short term.
Despite all the problems I see, I remain ever more hopeful. That sense of hope was underscored when I had the good fortune to visit St. Timothy’s Catholic Church this past Saturday to be witness to a wonderful Baptism ceremony. Eight Angels were baptized and blessed by the Monsignor as their parents and God Parents were witness. It was such a moving ceremony that underscored how the need to look to the future is ever more crucial and the need for debate and an open and honest dialogue is vital. I again wonder whether I expect too much. The one thing I know is that I have to keep the faith.