Two different questions in my inbox today, and I’d wager they came from two different people. They have two different answers.
THE WORLD would be a better place if travel was more affordable and accessible. Be it super-fast airplanes or utopian sci-fi transport technology, if people on this planet could get around faster and easier it would change everything. In a good way.
I’ve mentioned before how people should prioritize language learning as it leads to a broader understanding of other cultures. Well the next step is to actually visit other cultures! Imagine if you could spend a weekend in India - just a weekend - and be back at work Monday morning without jetlag. How would you not go?
And this might be my naivete but I honestly believe that if we were all zipping around the globe seeing new places and meeting new people, we’d be less enthusiastic about fighting wars and more likely to aid countries that need our help. Would you be as nonchalant about starving children or border conflicts or genocide when you knew someone in the affected region? If you had visited that region? If you went once a month?
AMERICA would be a better place if religion and politics got divorced. I don’t want to tell anyone how to pray or to pray at all. If worshipping God or a similar entity is your bag and you don’t hurt people doing so, I say go for it. If your scripture says you can’t eat one particular animal, you don’t have to eat that animal and I won’t serve it if you eat at my house.
That’s not what America has though. America talks about religious freedom in the broadest sense - we will not put you in jail just for your faith - but in practice our leaders are nearly uniformly Christian. And they are bad at the First Amendment, because they just presume everyone else is Christian too (including the long-dead Founding Fathers who wouldn’t know a Evangelical Born-Again Christian from a snake charmer).
Hence you have state education boards who sincerely weigh Bible passages against scientific texts. You have legislators vote against hate crime laws because they are worried their preacher will get arrested for yelling at gays. You have endless hemming and hawing over birth control, over abortion, over gay marriage, all to preserve traditions that only matter to a very specific group of people on our planet at the expense of the people who actually need those services.
Again, I don’t want to get between any human and their (non-violent) faith of choice. If you want to get together on Sunday and laugh at the rest of us for believing evolution is real, I’m not going to lose sleep over that. But keep your fantasy novels out of my science class. Keep your holy texts out of my courts. Because I don’t care what your Lord condemns or forbids. I did not opt into that program. I opted out of all deity worship a long time ago.