On the way to the Houston airport, the taxi driver told me that he didn’t know until a few years ago that Washington, DC was not in Washington State.
I would not have judged this man to be uneducated or even inarticulate. He was a well-dressed, white, 57-year-old American man born and raised in Houston. If the cornerstone of a democracy is that people are informed enough to make decisions, then I think this is a demonstration of where we are failing.
He also told me that he took his first airplane trip two years ago. I’m afraid that he represents thousands of Americans who love to comment on foreign affairs and the rights of people they do not know without having any real knowledge on these subjects.
A man born in Pakistan was student in my leadership class this week. Although he is now an American, his father is very high up in the Pakistan Army. I had a fascinating discussion with him about the fighting in the Swat Valley. I learned so much. Every time I learn like this, I realize how much about the world I don’t know. I can’t wait to learn more.
So what am I asking for? Please support educational funding and reform whenever possible. Please speak up when schools want to cut out classes that open student’s minds and hearts to the outside world and the variety of opinions that make up our diverse country. Please encourage people to seek many views, even those opposite to their own, before they make an opinion or vote.
I don’t have an answer for this. Yet, I had to say something about it. If you have something to say, please comment here. Somehow, we need to get this conversation going. America needs an upgrade. We may never get out of this financial crisis as winners if we don’t.