You and I are in the midst of one of the great struggles in human history. Everything is at stake, starting with the future of our planet. A monumental shift is happening; we can feel it. An era in human history is coming to an end. This was an Age of Independence, when the individual was the focus of attention. Our duty was to make something of, by, and for ourselves: a name, a good living, a family, a reputation, and perhaps even a fortune. We were taught to “look out for #1” and to find ways to survive and even thrive in a “dog-eat-dog world.”
The Trump administration is the culmination of this philosophy. We now have a U.S. President whose worldview reduces everything to competition, to winners and losers, to self-interest in the extreme. His sole aspiration is to be viewed as the Biggest Winner of all, in business, in entertainment, in politics, and now in domestic and international affairs. One way or another, this presidency will mark the end of an era.
Our struggle is not simply against something: a President, a set of policies, or a system of government. Two paradigms are colliding at this moment. We are striving to give birth to a new era, an Age of Interdependence, when the plight of the individual is linked to the entire collective. The world we live in is no longer shrinking; that already happened. Geographic distances have been made irrelevant by air travel and advances in telecommunications. National borders are disappearing, in spite of nationalist rumblings. We are becoming increasingly homogenous as a people, regardless of our cultural, racial, or religious differences. The politics of “we” are displacing those of “I” as advocacy groups discover the overlap of their respective causes.
Now more than ever, we are faced with the need to recognize that Black Lives Matter, as do all lives. Increasing numbers of us are standing, either in body or in spirit, with the peoples of Standing Rock. We see that women’s issues are human issues, that poverty affects us all, that any suffering is our suffering. We know that our responsibilities to future generations and to non-human species have to be taken into account when considering climate change, nuclear proliferation, warfare, or environmental degradation. We understand that ideology does not take precedence over human life, dignity, or freedom. And most of all, we come to the crucial realization that all lives have value: basic, inherent, and undeniable value.
You and I have no choice but to give birth to this Age of Interdependence. There is no standing still or going backwards. The only other alternative is the end of humanity and perhaps of most other biological species on this planet. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is not a solely spiritual or religious one, either. One way or another, all of the following will end in the present century: war; economic and social injustice; the careless squandering of natural resources; and the predominance of greed and self-interest. We either live together, humans and non-humans alike, or we die together.
The Trump Administration is an opportunity. You and I know we must rally together, unifying all of our advocacy groups and concerns into a single movement. Whatever issues impact you also impact me because your best interests are also my own. I belong to all religions, all racial groups, every gender and sexual orientation, every economic class, all cultures, all species, and all generations. You and I must not take no for an answer. Pushing for an Age of Interdependence on this planet deserves every bit of our energy and dedication. And we have all the power we need at our disposal. Together, we can engage in peaceful yet total non-compliance with any entity or policy that seeks to divide and alienate us, to pit us against one another, to dishonor our movement, or to push domination over cooperation. We can and must prevail in creating this Age of Interdependence. Nothing else matters. Here is the only issue that should concern any of us. We must stand together for the benefit of all so that we can ensure a bright future for our planet. Are you ready?