The Transcendent Challenge Dayton Must Solve In Order To Be Assured Of A Great Future

Senator McCain claims that, “the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists.” This claim, that dealing with Islamic extremists is the most important challenge for the future, seems exaggerated and unsubstantiated. There are a lot of dangers impinging on the world’s future. E J. Dionne asks, “Does McCain mean that in the year 2100, Americans will look back and say that everything else that happened in the century paled in comparison with the war against terrorism?”

As a member in good standing of the industrial military complex, it makes sense that McCain would frame the focus of the future in terms of fear, in terms of endless war, and in terms of giving the military increased supremacy. But, regardless if one doesn’t agree with McCain’s point of view, McCain needs to be given credit for advancing a powerful framework for discussion — identifying the most important issues that will impact our future. A central criteria by which to measure the effectiveness of leadership is the degree to which a leader succeeds in anticipating and planning for the future. It makes sense that at the heart of a presidential contest should be a discussion about how the most important issues impacting the future are defined. By asserting that terrorism is the transcendent issue impacting our future, McCain is asking by implication, “If terrorism is not the transcendent issue, then what is?”

In my judgment, I think a bigger threat to our future than Islamic terrorism is the potential disintegration of our democracy. The evidence of the degradation of our democracy is obvious and growing. I wrote in my post, “Can’t Help Thinking We Should Be Frightened About Tomorrow” : “Our biggest threat to the future, it seems to me, is the threat that our democracy will be incapable of producing the wise and effective leadership it desperately needs. As it stands now, our democracy is corrupt and weak. We do not have a government that is of the people and we certainly do not have a government that is for the people. Our democracy is not working as it should.”

How to make our democracy strong is the key question. I outlined some thoughts in an article about the 501C(3), nonprofit, Grassroots Dayton, “Sowing the Seeds of Democracy.” The challenge for Grassroots Dayton is inspire individuals to become motivated to want to share its purpose.

How or why one is motivated is an interesting question. McCain is betting that we are most motivated by fear. And maybe he is right. An authentic leader seeks to motivate by affirming  the most enduring and best principles. It is interesting that Barack Obama started in politics as a “community organizer.” He was motivated to become positively involved. I’m betting many individuals in Montgomery County are ready to be motivated to become positively involved and, if given the opportunity, will rise to make our democracy work.

Vitalizing its democracy is the transcendent challenge for our nation as well as for our community. Dayton and Montgomery County must answer this challenge in order to be assured of a great future.

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One Response to The Transcendent Challenge Dayton Must Solve In Order To Be Assured Of A Great Future

  1. Rick says:

    What the City of Dayton needs is better educated and involved citizens.

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