My sociology class has been very interesting. It's amazing the solutions one can come up with when politics aren't involved.
A good example is teenage pregnancy. The Republican party and especially our President preach abstinence only programs. Well on the surface that's a GREAT idea but realistically it sucks. The fact is that no matter how much you pound abstinence into the heads of teenagers, there will be many times they will not make that decision. Do you want them to know how to protect themselves and how to obtain it? Oh so your religion teaches abstinence. Fine, but let's face reality. Adam and Eve took a bite of the apple right? Ok the kids are going to bite too. After all they are only human. When we help these kids, we ALL benefit.
Another example is poverty. Ok fine, we can all sit here and preach personal responsibility (which I do all the time) but the fact is that there will always be people who will make poor choices in life OR who do make the right choices but wind up in a jam anyway and pointing fingers doesn't solve the problem. So while we're preaching personal responsibility we can also put into place programs to help those who get themselves into jams. When we help these people, we ALL benefit.
Obesity is a huge problem in America. But the answer is not local, state or federal laws banning certain types of food or adding more taxes to it, the answer is in education and labeling. Educate people on what's good and what's not so good and require labeling so that people can make EDUCATED choices. Beyond that, what else can you do? At some point we have to let people live their own lives even if they make mistakes. Because we've all made mistakes at one time or another.
Preaching personal responsibility for one's life really only works to prevent problems from happening, not solving them once they occur. And so we have to think realistically about solutions, solutions that work, which don't infringe upon the rights of the American people but which also make sense and which can be put into action by your average Americans with little if any bureaucracy. Government does not have to solve all our problems for us, we can do much of it ourselves.
And finally one of the biggest issues is the "village/child" mentality. While we don't want other people raising our kids because it's OUR responsibility (ok YOURS since I don't have kids), the truth is that when the "village" mentality was popular, back in the days when neighbors knew each other, teachers were allowed to discipline, and everyone watched out for each other's kids, when families lived closer, kids turned out better. And while that's only part of the reason, I'm beginning to think that the village mentality isn't such a bad thing. I think a child can be part of that "village" and still maintain his or her individuality and learn to work hard, take responsibility for his or her actions and be a good citizen who not only strives to get ahead individually but also cares about those around them.
I'm starting to believe that caring, compassion and working together without politics involved is the way to solve many social problems. Every time we get a politician involved, things get out of control, many times the problem becomes worse and it takes much more money and time to fix it. If we the people just said "ok here's the problem, now let's fix it" on a more local level, we could do more.
It's amazing how, when you take the political views out of the task of solving social problems, it's so much easier to come up with viable solutions. I think I'm going to work on that.