“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” (Albert Einstein)
I think we can all agree that Albert Einstein was a brilliant man. He was a man before his time. His ideas led us into the future at a time when the future was full of uncertainty.
Born in Germany in 1879, he grew to manhood during a time of political unrest in Europe. Shortly after World War I (the war to end all wars), Mr. Einstein received the Nobel Prize in science. He found himself in the United States when Hitler came to power, and he never returned to his homeland of Germany. A pacifist, his letter to President Roosevelt, of which he later regretted, helped usher in the atomic age.
Albert Einstein was a man of the future. A man that had hope for the years to come. He believed in socialism and was an anti-racist, and ardently supported civil rights. Being an agnostic he did not believe in a personal god, but followed the idea of a pantheistic view of god—that god is everything and everyone and that everything and everyone is god. The words he uttered on his deathbed are an indication that he accepted his fate in life, and my guess is that he did not believe in life after death, “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”
The greatest mind of his time, Albert Einstein died at the beginning of the Cold War. Even in the face of a major nuclear disaster (possibly even global destruction) I believe he would have continued to entertain the notion that one must always hold out hope for tomorrow, and continue to question everything around them. He was a man that stood firmly on the grounds of his beliefs, and refused to waver under the pressures of life.
You’re probably now wondering where I am going with these words. Every four years I begin think along the lines of “hope for tomorrow.” We will soon be voting for a new president. For the past year we’ve seen numerous individuals jump onto the campaign trail in hopes that they might become a candidate for the most powerful position in the world. Each of them promises hope for a new tomorrow. I have my doubts that they can deliver.
During my lifetime I’ve seen this country slowly begin sinking to its knees. When I was born a single income could support a family. The breadwinner worked his/her lifetime with the knowledge that they could continue to live comfortably through their golden years. That has all changed.
It takes two incomes now to support a small family, and then there seldom is a plan for the future. Too much has to be put into today to think about tomorrow. The people of this country struggle to meet day to day expenses. They do not have the time, energy, or excess income to consider planning for a future. For the most part, they look to our politicians to lead them into the years to come.
From where I sit it seems to me that our elected officials very seldom consider the day to day needs of their constituency, and have no plan for the future. Lately, the President has been too wrapped up with world events to lead the people of this country. Our Congressmen and Senators are too busy bickering among themselves to think of the people that put him in office. A government shutdown, and threats of more, stagnant wages, rising prices, a healthcare industry with unbelievable costs that has grown beyond comprehension, and a federal government that has become the largest single employer in the nation has me, and many others, on the brink of despair.
Listen to the presidential candidates from each party as they sling mud at one another during televised debates. It’s sad how few times you hear them offer solutions to the problems we face. When they do, it’s without substance, and only touches upon the real issues that citizens of this country face daily. They’re too busy pointing their fingers at one another, and engaging in name-calling like kids on a playground, to worry about those of us that make up the backbone of this nation.
In 1969 a song written by Mac Davis shot up the charts. It portrayed the birth, growth, and death of a young man in the ghettos of Chicago. He died from a gunshot wound. As he laid dying in the streets, his momma cried. This song resurrected the career of Elvis Presley. More than that, though, it brought home the tragic reality of what life was like for so many at the time.
Almost 50 years later I ask, what’s so different about those days than what we see happening today?
For over a half a century our elected officials have had a chance to help us make life better than it had been. Have they succeeded? Or, have things stayed relatively the same, or worsened, as they’ve lined their pockets with gold—the gold that should have been used to keep this country great? Oh, we’re still at the top of the pile, but, in my mind we’re sliding downhill and picking up speed.
If you have not grown too weary of the long process of what has become a very lengthy campaign trail for the presidency, I’d like you to consider a few things when you vote for the candidate of your choice. Have they learned enough from yesterday to lead this country back to the greatness some of us have lived through? Are they living only for today and what this day can provide for them? Do they exhibit hope for tomorrow?
It’s been a long time, a very long time, since the day we could vote for the best man (person) and not the lesser of two evils. The first Tuesday of November we, as a nation, will show the world what we think of our hopes for tomorrow. It’s just too bad we don’t have any statesmen running for office—none that I can see, anyway. We have to settle for a politician, whether it be for President, Congress, state official, or local official, and not a true statesman that can work with other statesmen to heal the internal ills of our nation that have been left to fester, and lead us through the minefield of a growing world economy and global tensions that we face daily.
With that, I’d like to leave you, once again, with what Albert Einstein had to say, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”