Ever since life emerged on this planet billions of years ago, the prime instinctive motivator for species survival has been ensuring the survival of the next generation of living organisms. Without this prime directive, the beginnings of life would have been snuffed out before even a single cell was formed in the primordial soup. Flash forward to present times, and this prime directive still holds, but we to our great shame are ignoring the very basis of sustaining life. This is manifested in many of the activities of the one species which should be most conscious of the history and meaning of Life – namely humans.

So what must we do to support the prime directive, the sustaining of life? We must prepare our children to take over from us by giving them the tools they need to survive. This is done by providing them with an outstanding education, not only with skills for supporting themselves, but with an understanding of their responsibilities as living and sentient human beings. And even with this material and moral education, they will also need a physical environment that is capable of sustaining life - for the air they breathe, the food they eat, and the physical space to safely raise the next generation. And an integral part of this education is to portray war accurately as an instrument of small and greedy people who have lost the understanding that war, and violence, and hatred, whether visited upon humans near or far, has the primary effect of destroying the fabric of life and the meaning of our existence.

How will these imperatives translate into policies which we should be supporting for our species? Do we reject or ignore or criminalize the desperation of suffering people who are fleeing their homelands for their lives? Do we focus on ourselves and not be mindful of our responsibilities as human beings? Do we perpetuate and enhance the inequalities which have resulted from centuries’ old racism? Do we naively depend on the promised generosity of billionaires and corporations, whose own prime directive is to preserve and enhance their bottom lines? Do we make it increasingly impossible for ordinary folks to rise higher than the circumstances into which they were born? What kind of world do we want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren?

There are no simple and easy answers to these questions. But the direction that our current President and the political party on which he now has a strangle hold are taking our country can surely not be supported by anyone who has an ounce of reverence for the Earth and his or her fellow human beings.

The young Democrats who emerged as leaders from last year’s mid-term election don’t have all the answers, but they are surely pointing us in the right and corrective direction. They understand what is needed for our survival for the near and far term. Let’s hope that the rest of us will learn from them and act on their message before it is too late.

Joe Sundeen

Lower Makefield

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