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To insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare


By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

It appears that if we want to “Insure Domestic Tranquility and Promote the General Welfare,” we Americans will have to find a way to combat the growing violence in our society.

I was taught that all of us are born into this world for a purpose. We are all unique and it is through education that we learn about the world, discover our own potential and where we fit in the big picture. In order for these gifts to be realized, children need to be nurtured from the moment they come into the world. They need a safe environment, encouragement and opportunity. Where it is needed the community must supplement what parents cannot provide. If we fail to do this we squander our greatest resource. Worse, without direction, these children will grow up, in some cases, making poor choices, causing us to expand our prison system.

This is not the time for “austerity.” If we provide jobs in infrastructure, invest in research, hire teachers and police officers there will be a demand for goods and services which will promote growth in the private sector. As revenue increases we can pay down the deficit. Putting parents back to work would not only grow the economy, but it would provide stability for families where children could feel secure and thrive.

Testing students should be for the purpose of finding out what they know and what they need to know, not as a means to regulate teacher’s pay or determine how money is allotted to schools.

Students should be taught to reason, employ critical thinking, to restrain anger, and to be persevering and patient. “Bullying” could be virtually eliminated if children find there is power in helping their classmates rather than hurting or belittling them.

In the sixties we saw black and white images of cowboys flicker across our TV screens.We were told the West was won by the “Colt 45.” We watched Matt Dillon in “Gun Smoke.” John Wayne was our hero. The characters he played won their battles against evil with their fists or guns. Violence was an acceptable way to resolve conflict. In recent years our appetite for violence has increased. “Rambo” and “The Exterminator” joined our mythology. Like junk food makes us physically unhealthy, a diet of violent images tends to desensitize us and make us accepting of violence as a way of solving our problems.

Particularly disturbing are the leaders of our country who see diplomacy as weakness and seek a military solution to our problems. When will these leaders come to realize that dropping bombs on people doesn’t “win hearts and minds!” Invading Iraq did not make the world a safer place.

The NRA over the last fifty years has contributed significantly to the climate of fear and paranoia in our country. Their main purpose is not to protect our “second amendment rights.” It is to sell guns. There is nothing in the President’s gun proposal that threatens our rights to hunt or protect our homes. The idea of a “neighborhood watch” is to report to police suspicious activity in the area. The Police are trained to resolve conflict, using violence as the last resort. George Zimmerman had a “license to carry a hand gun.” What he lacked was good judgment. If he had stayed in his car and let the police check out his suspicions, Trayvon Martin would still be alive. Easy access to weapons combined with drugs and alcohol intensifies danger. Recently a Senator was stopped for drunk driving. There was a weapon on the seat beside him.

In recent years we have been engulfed in a wave of technology. Our children are hooked up to iPods, iPhones, Facebook and tweeting. They are inundated with information. It is important that they learn to “control this technology” and not let technology control them!

They need to step back from this phenomenon. There should be time to reflect and make choices.

A major discipline that could change our culture is to incorporate Yoga into our children’s daily routine throughout their lives. Yoga encourages us to slow down, to become centered and find a peaceful place inside ourselves where we can go to refresh our spirits.

Another important part of maintaining balance in our lives is keeping a connection with Nature. People come to Lanesboro to hunt in the woods and ride bicycles on the trail along the Root River. To be truly human we need to embrace the wonders, the miracles and the beauty of the world around us: to increase awareness and live in the moment.

When we learn to sing, dance, play a musical instrument, paint we become a part of the creative process. The future of our country depends on our ability to see the truth and the courage to make that truth a reality.

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