Global security issues in an age of anxiety

Prices are up, political divisions are wide and acceptance of the truth is weak. People no longer respect the value of work because they see no value in their work. Healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and food service workers find their lives to be filled with more and more strenuous work hours with an ever-shrinking paycheck. Those growing, producing and manufacturing products on which we all depend, are paying the heaviest costs on the basic goods and services vital for a secure life. The questions we all face are “who let this happen” and “what are we going to do to fix it?”

Since the adoption of rampant deregulation and trickle-down economic theory in the 1980s, the United States and the world have seen a massive trickle-up from the wealth-producing middle and working classes to those playing the market for their own gain at the expense of the majority. 

Education gradually became unaffordable and debt-inducing for many. The price of the average home leapt to unreachable heights. Industry and the essential jobs that come with it, slowly moved to low and middle income countries with cheap labor and less than democratic governments. Thriving towns and cities across formerly industrialized regions of Western democracies dried up and the people living there were left to fend for themselves without the support of once-strong organized labor unions or aid from a benevolent government. 

Without hope or a chance to succeed, people turned to more radical alternatives. This culminated in the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, the election of Donald Trump, the rise of post-truth social media intolerance and violence and the uptick in algorithm abuse meant to keep us all filled with anger.

The Age of Anxiety we are all living in is rooted in fundamental economic and social imbalances. These pressures are usually felt privately but are often demonstrated publicly in apathetic alienation or articulated in seething rage. Thus, our politics have become far too divided to be effective and the people of the world pay the price. The value of democracy is questioned and“freedom” is defined as the right to own military-grade weapons or to deny liberty of choice and expression to perceived “others.”

Security is the ultimate driving message and strategy that will alter our present course and lift people from perpetual hopelessness, worry and doubt. This is the security to care and protect. The security to enable and liberate. The concept of security as a shelter and as a springboard was first introduced to me by my friend and the former Labour Party leader in the United Kingdom, Neil Kinnock. I have since latched onto and expanded these ideas and ideals to fit an American context.

The principles of security fall under three broad initiatives, the first one being healthcare. It is past time for the United States to have a modern, universal, single-payer healthcare system in line with every other mature democracy. This will never be achieved through a full-scale government takeover, nor should it. 

A national health insurance program paid for by each American citizen would need to be introduced. Healthcare would thus become publicly funded and regulated, but privately delivered by qualified medical professionals operating under the law. The costs of life-saving medicines must be negotiated for and regulated by the national insurance agency in order to ensure fair, affordable pricing. 

Once and for all, the value of money in America would be placed below the love of human life. No one would be fearful of healthcare costs and everyone would be seen when in need of care. If we all pay something, we will all pay less and get a healthier country as a result.

The second broad initiative deals with how to meet the educational demands of the 21st century. We don’t just need “more funding.” We need a more rooted approach to education reform. The times call for more teachers with higher qualifications. Our valued teachers deserve a fair salary that does not have to be stretched thin to buy classroom supplies. Technology should be used to target the identified needs of children at early ages through simple testing so areas of growth, potential and interest can be harvested and needs rectified. Civics and home economics courses must become mainstays once again. 

A new program of apprenticeships should also be introduced. Before their final two years in high school, apprenticeships should be offered to students as a direct pathway to work if they choose not to continue
on to a college education. 

For those who opt for the apprenticeship path, the final two years of high school should instead be occupied with direct training and paid employment in local business and industry. Ultimately, public school teachers must be able to teach facts and public schools must be places of open dialogue, creativity and free thought for every child. The third and final initiative will tackle the world’s need for green energy. Higher gas prices have hit us all hard. The increased cost of goods has been brought about, in part, by increased transport costs. 

The question of energy can and must be solved by the Green Industrial Revolution at our fingertips. Solar and wind power generation is now cheaper to produce than fossil fuel-based energy. Forgotten towns and cities now have a new lease on life through green tech industries, as the jobs of the future follow every new solar panel and windmill. The cost of transport also has the potential to be reduced because of green energy. A new high-speed rail system is needed and ,with this new system, people would be able to travel on clean and energy-efficient trains. Goods would be transported on trains built with the same qualities. Electric cars and trucks are becoming more widely available and cheaper as a result of this availability. 

Our greatest overriding goal must be to properly manage these advancements. The mistakes of the past must never be repeated, for if we fail to meet this climate crisis with vigor and proper planning, we will be putting the lives of generations on the line. It is through these three principles that security can ultimately be realized. 

Security for the individual to live a happy, healthy, productive and meaningful life is the priority. Security for the community to grow, prosper and foster talent is achievable. The mission of security is rooted in the hopes of ordinary people and the needs upon which we all depend. 

We must never think of these tasks as too arduous to face, nor must we give in to systematic pressures. The hope of the next decade rests in a belief in security for all decades.