Wednesday, February 1, 2017

These Colors Don't Run

Often associated with the United States flag and symbolizing the courage of the men and women in the armed forces. Unfortunately, in light of recent events, one has to consider that the boldness and resolve projected by this statement is no longer a guiding principal of our country. Make no mistake, while the rhetoric will attempt to feed you an "America first" and a "Strong America" diet, the direction taken is exactly the opposite.

We live in very challenging times, no question about it. But the brave and bold thing to do is to embrace these times with openness and resolve, to strive to build a better world for everyone.

Hiding behind walls, travel bans, and discrimination are actions taken by people that are afraid. Afraid of change, afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown, and most importantly afraid of everything and everyone that might be different in any way. Being afraid does not go well with "These Colors Don't Run" actually it goes more along the lines of "We run and hide as fast as we possibly can". The later of course being a disgrace to those who have fought throughout history, may it be on the civil or military battlefields, for the freedoms we enjoy today.

In light of the societal upheaval we face through technological change with potentially large job losses due to self driving cars and trucks, the ever increasing capabilities of AI, and the intrusion of information systems the run and hide behind a wall is nothing but petty expensive propaganda in the guise of so called "security". Once cannons were invented many fortifications became somewhat useless as the walls could be penetrated more easily. What good is a wall or a travel ban when people who had their security clearance information stolen can be blackmailed to create a hole in that wall?

How can we expect to benefit from others that might find innovative solutions to the looming societal changes when we choose not to converse, collaborate, and meet each other face to face?

For a large number of people in this country and around the world it has become obvious that the only way to strive is by working together, by embracing changes, by putting aside fear. Yes, there are bad actors, and there will always be bad actors. We have to acknowledge that these bad actors exist and we have to find ways to address them. However, targeting groups of people based on their believes, the color of their skin, the country to which they may have traveled, or the country they may have been born in is a generalization that leads down a very dangerous path. This path has been tried, and luckily it failed. However the cost of this path is immeasurable and the scars last for generations.

Following the generalization being applied to it's logical conclusion we should set up state border patrols because after all Timothy McVeigh was not born in Oklahoma, and if we would have had fences and proper borders with travel restrictions than maybe those 168 people would still be alive. Or maybe since Timothy was born in New York we should generalize and draw the conclusion that no one from New York, especially white christian males, should be allowed to leave the state and once you enter you cannot come back, unless of course you undergo extreme vetting procedures. Clearly everyone will see the falsehood of this train of thought and argumentation and see how silly it would be to build a wall around every state and that this would have a huge negative economic impact and would not do anything to enhance the security of anyone else in any other state. Bad actors exist, it is a fact of life, and preferably these bad actors can be identified. However, generalization of believes, skin color or other attributes of any bad actor to the rest of a group of people that may share those attributes is incorrect.

We fail when we run and hide and let a few bad actors dictate our way of live.  "These Colors Don't Run", we succeed and strive by embracing diversity, by welcoming and helping those in need. The ship needs to be turned quickly before we take any farther strides down the path that inevitably leads to a very bad place.

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