It seems to me that many Americans, feeling anxious about their own jobs and their own security, just as many do in the UK, have been swayed into thinking that yet another change is what is required. But changing the make-up of the government every 2 years does nothing to support effective long-term change for the better. Long-term change requires commitment, dedication and resolve.
Anyone who has ever achieved anything remarkable will know just how important it is to have an unwavering belief in what you are aiming to achieve. Whether it is in business, sport, art or politics, people who achieve great things have a strong foundation, an unfaltering belief that what they are doing is not only worth doing but that it is the right thing to do. When times get tough it is this very same belief that keeps us going. People who act based on a deep-seated belief do not falter and do not seek change for change’s sake. They seek change because they have a very clear vision of what that change means.
Across the globe humanity is in need of monumental change. Millions of people still live in poverty and lack basic provisions such as food, shelter and healthcare. We need to address the issues of energy production and sustainability. Civilisation today is such that, without electricity, it ceases to exist. How we produce energy, where it comes from, how long it will last and what effects it has on current and future generations are absolutely fundamental to the continued existence of our species. As such they require long-term strategies and long-term policies that are rooted in something substantial. Our global policies on energy and sustainability need to be great sturdy objects like battle ships that have set down their anchors in the mighty sea, capable of withstanding anything that is thrown at them. Instead what we have are paper boats floating on top of a lake, the slightest puff of wind being enough to change their course.
Political policies are easily influenced by public opinion and public opinion itself is easily swayed by the question of “what does it mean for me right now?” Many people will agree in principle that we should be investing more in renewable sources of clean energy, but ask them to sacrifice something financially now to make that future a possibility and they will think twice, especially if they are already feeling worried about their financial security.
So what is the answer? Personally I believe that issues like energy policy, poverty and sustainability are far too important to be left to politicians, Prime Ministers and Presidents. What we need are independent bodies which can deal with these issues, devise long-term strategies and make sure they are implemented.
Photo Credit: gigi 62 via flickr (CC license)