Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vision for America

For the first time that I can remember, a president or president-elect asked the American people to share their vision of what the country should be. Soon after his election, Barack Obama provided a Web page for doing just that; and I added my opinion, as follows.

First and foremost, the United States must be true to its core principles, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Most critical among these is our recognition and respect of the equal value of everyone; given the interdependence and interrelationship of all of us, regardless of where we are in the world, I believe that we should apply this principle to everyone.

We are a nation of laws because our founders recognized that actions, not people, are inherently good or bad based on their positive or negative effects on people. Responding to behavior instead of the characteristics of people will go a long way toward achieving a just nation and world.

None of us can achieve what we want or get what we need, except by accident, unless we have access to accurate information, and as much information as is practical to obtain and process. To this end, we must value and promote forthrightness in all our dealings -- social, economic, and otherwise.

In the resource-constrained present and future that we are facing, we will need to focus on acquiring renewable resources and building infrastructure while controlling (if not outright abandoning) our appetite for unsustainable exponential growth in material consumption. To do otherwise will be to condemn our country and the world to extreme poverty, if not death, in this century (see

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