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It is vitally important to the health of any democracy that we recognize how ideas and actions progress, compete, inter-influence and flow together, to build the circumstances in which we come to exist and exercise our liberty. This photo by White House photographer Pete Souza shows Pres. Barack Obama sitting on the bus where Rosa Parks made her historic protest against the segregated public transit system. Her decision to put herself at risk for a decent, basic human hope, made the historic presidency of this man possible.
The ideas and innovations, the daring and collaborative investment that will build the open future for people across the world, will map to world events in a similar way. The linear connection may not be 100% cause-and-effect, but that certain fortunate eventualities require certain precedents, invested with human intelligence, heart and foresight, is and will be evident. To build a cleaner, smarter world, where free and open democracies are built around more-than-ever decentralized networks of power distribution, we need to invest in people, ideas, technology and human character.
It is not possible to build a successful free and open democracy, infused with the smartest, most capable quality-of-life inducing technologies and system dynamics, without first taking action to instigate and propagate the most effective system of educational empowerment of human individuals, families and communities. As we move toward the open systems based human future for free people, we must invest in education, and privilege systems that are conducive to learning-centered engagement between educators and learners.
To instigate and to propagate this revolution in educational system focus, we need to take seriously what happens to people, families and communities, when economic stratification takes the place of open opportunity as a principle for organizing spending, investment and innovation. Innovation-centered activities that decentralize economic power and foster localized opportunity and reward for investment in new ideas will help to build the open future and secure democracy.
To reinforce this process, we need to focus on sustainability across the full spectrum of human interest: that means sustainable energy sourcing, sustainable food production and distribution, sustainable industrial relationships with the natural environment, sustainable chemical relationships between industry and human health, sustainable educational quality, sustainable diplomatic progress and cooperation, sustainable security policy and sustainable initiatives for economic quality-of-life improvement.
In every area where sustainable policies and processes can be developed, the precise definition of sustainability will vary, but what remains constant is that we can predict the future by creating it ourselves. We can apply science, language, politics and policy, to deliberately build the kind of future that recognizes the necessary and rational moral arc from daring moments of insight, as exhibited by Rosa Parks, to the visionary collaborative open presidency of Barack Obama.
Issues of party and ideology aside, we are living in the 21st century, when communications technology is knitting the fabric of global society together on ways never before possible. We can raise the voice of the voiceless, give stakeholders a say in the fate of their own environment, integrate innovators into a more creative decision-making process and open the public space to real dialogue, real collaboration and visionary pragmatic problem solving.
We can reward those who have the right ideas, wherever they come from, and motivate positive change that decentralizes power and makes human benefits more sustainable. We can, and we must.