Our 21st Century Growing Pains

By Larry Sparks, Guest Columnist

Michigan Citizen, August 29- Sept. 4. 2010

In these times of troubles, most Americans are unaware of the potential in our everyday decisions. The challenges we face are the consequences of the courage or cowardice shown in the everyday choices made by our ancestors and elders. Our everyday decisions and choices are our gifts to our children and friends.

We are now in a very puzzling and historic time of doubt and questioning of all our values.

Millions of us are cultural creatives who have come to realize that what exists is based on choices that value things more than people.

But most Americans still believe that their/our problems are personal failures, not realizing that they stem from systemic, degrading values that are roadblocks to humanizing ourselves and our society. Most of our choices were made for us by representatives who cared more for their self-interest than for our human needs, thus turning every aspect of our lives into things. They even had the arrogance to turn corporations into human beings and give human voices to inanimate objects in order to sell stuff.

Few people realize that in our era of materialism, we have to go against our common sense in order to become more human, human beings, and that doing so gives us the opportunity to become fifty times grander than we ever thought we could be.

This is our time to transcend the mundane and become the extraordinary. Out of today's negativity, by the everyday choices we make, we can move forward and advance our species to the next stage of human evolution.

Going beyond race, class, age, sex boundaries, we find ourselves in a period where the simple act of picking up a piece of trash is a revolutionary act, a symbol that we value creating new human relations with our neighbors in beloved community. Out of this simple decision, we can once again regain our humanity by choosing not to destroy the planet.

We need a new Declaration of Independence from dehumanizing acts of hate, lust and violations/violence of all kind. We need to meet the challenge of Dr. King's call, in the last few years of his life, to create beloved communities by making a radical revolution in values, taking a stand against militarism, materialism and racism.

We need to go beyond Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in which he continued to define our identity, self-worth, and relationships by the consumer madness of the "great middle class." If we continue to view our human identity that way, we will continue to destroy ourselves and the Earth.

By acknowledging that "we are our brother's keepers," we recognize that we are only one of the many species who reside on Planet Earth. Without this respect and recognition we become damaged human beings like the guy who says, "I don't care, I'll be dead anyway."

Technocrats in our country have turned everything and everyone into commodities, thus undermining our capacity to think in socially-conscious, human ways. Should society be organized and based on pursuing individual advancement or should we be taking the best of what we have accomplished over 3000 generations to become more advanced in our humanity, making a new way out of no way, advancing the worth of our human selves, taking advantage of the best in our history to create a new American and a New America?

What are the organic ethical and sacred principles that will guide us through the 21st century? How do we join and pursue the quest for a renewed America, an America which we can all be proud to call our own?

I love America but hate some of the things that are done in my name.

As the Right and the Left become involved and even corrupted with traditional electoral politics, we need to join in the mission to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit, Michigan, and our Beloved USA, so that we can live in the world in a new, more sharing/caring way, guided by, envisioning and finding new ways to meet our potential as human beings, battling/resisting any violation of that quest.

Going beyond capitalism and beyond socialism, beyond violence, using what it means be a more human, human being as our standard to judge our daily actions, resisting/transcending backward ideas, we can continue humanity's 3000 generation quest towards Love, Hope and a New American all-inclusive dream.

Won't you join us, your neighbors, in building participatory democracy, through Local Responsibility Councils on every block? Hope doesn't just happen! Join this world-wide movement to enrich our humanity. ______

My USSF Conversation with Immanuel Wallerstein can be read at

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