Look For The Crossroads

855. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I’m having an ongoing email conversation with Rafael. We are discussing educational change but more specifically asking how to change a culture of exclusion. I won’t go on a rant so let it suffice to say that the idea that we have equal access is just that: a nice idea but is nowhere apparent in the national fabric or the lived narrative of our nation. Our tax codes are created to keep the poorest poor and the wealthiest wealthy. Revolutionizing education is to revolutionize the economy and that is why it has become such a wicked problem. The forces in play do not favor the many. The voices in power represent the few.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life pushing against the public school system. And despite my capacity to fling around phrases like, “You can’t solve a problem at the level of the problem,” I’m only now seeing beyond the level of the problem. Inequity is institutionalized and deeply embedded in the national narrative so it is a fool’s errand to push on the institutions. As Buckminster Fuller advises, move toward what you want to create. This requires a new narrative. It requires to look at something other than what currently exists.

We go where we look. Where are we looking? We can hit division every time if we insist on seeing division. What’s good for business is not always what’s good for community and I often think that business wins the contest every time because we have a fleeting sense of community. We define our national health by the stock exchange. We are up or we are down. When I listen to the news or read the papers I am filled with the narrative of division. It is Us and Them on every page. This is not a new narrative. It is as old as our nation. Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness refers to land ownership and at the time those words were penned those privileges were extended to a few white males with resources and no others. A system does what a system was designed to do.

A new narrative would be one of unity. A new narrative is one of inclusion. A new narrative would consider the health of the system – in fact it would demand a healthy system and that is impossible to realize if any segment of the system is impoverished. A healthy plant cannot grow in exhausted soil. This is not an abstraction. Grow a garden in polluted soil and tell me what you discover.

It feels as if we are standing at the crossroads of “Every man for himself,” and “I am my brother’s keeper.” Both of these phrases are philosophies of an economy. The great thing about a crossroads is that the roads cross. They come together and are neither this nor that. They are a meeting ground and places of commerce accessible to all. Meeting grounds are also the place where new narratives are created. They are places of possibility. We know that our political climate is averse to seeing crossroads. We do not have to go where they are looking. We are capable of telling a different story if we are courageous enough to look where the roads cross and decide to stand in the place of an economy that includes instead of an economy that excludes.

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