Chilean Miners

The headlines called them heroes and the president of Chile promised to use all available resources to get them out of the dark, hot mine shaft. The world’s news was fascinated and focused on the small mining village outside Santiago. American technology drilled down to save them as we learned South American geography and churches prayed throughout the world for their safe return to sea level.  They were just some guys who got trapped in a mine. They are only heroes because they didn’t go Lord of the Flies all over each other. American news media flocked to Copiapo and fell over each other to document the feel good story of the month. I’m not envious of their situation, it must have been horrible defecating and eating in the same cramped living space underground for 70 days, but, they knew their job was perilous.

They will all extend their fifteen minutes to be part of a big Hollywood production documenting their trials and tribulations. It reminds me of another Andes area triumph of human spirit…the Uruguayan rugby team who resorted to cannibalism to stay ALIVE!

I understand the human interest storylines inherent in these disasters, but what about the slow burn of starvation and poverty throughout the Americas and the world. We focus energy on places like Chile, Haiti, Indonesia and Pakistan only when it has become so destroyed by nature that no human effort can really change the outcome. If we have the money to send in relief when the tornado hits, why not use the money pre-emptively and build a storm cellar?

We feel so good that those miners got out, that some children in Haiti got a bowl of rice after the earthquake, that the Indonesian and Pakistanis found temporary dry earth to sleep on, but we don’t follow up on their sorrows. We, as Americans, are a giving, caring people led by a government of “appearances”. When the public cry out to help a troubled people, we send the money. Granted, we do help most countries all year long and have for decades, but we need to invest in their own sustainability.

Farming in Africa, construction in Haiti, employment in the Mid-East are answers to solutions instead of Band-Aids when the scab rips. I don’t know how to make the world function for all to be successful, I do know that someone with a job is much less likely to be a suicide bomber. People with farms to care for won’t take to pirating merchant ships on the open sea.

The world’s recession has impacted most everyone and created an opportunity for a realignment of money, supplies and jobs. Computers can build cars and make clothes.  Humans have reached the point where technology has made many jobs redundant. Our new focus needs to be on expanding high-tech or social service jobs. Immigrant manual labor will probably always be around and they need to be, but education is, as it always has been, the future of America. Many of our 9.6% unemployed workers could be retrained in new sectors and find 21st century careers to lead us into this century of prosperity through our comfortable technology and enable us to feed starving Americans through their own hard work.

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