Global citizenship is our reality

July 6, 2009

[In his June 22 column, Bruce Hetrick asked,] "Is global citizenship 'intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous?'" This question, reflective of Newt Gingrich's recent statement declaring himself not "a citizen of the world" elicited personal incredulousness. How could a politician, an educated person in the 21st century, not see himself as a citizen of the world?

We are all citizens of the world. That does not preclude or minimize our national citizenship. As members of the human race, we exist in an economically, ecologically and politically interconnected society. Our geopolitical boundaries allow us to govern our nations individually.

However, our human needs know no boundaries. We are connected virtually every second of every day. Our humanness cannot decipher geopolitical boundaries. We see our fellow humans suffering from oppression and injustice on YouTube and our hearts empathize. We want to help. We are members of a global work force. We compete for jobs with people from other nations.

Our geopolitical boundaries and philosophical differences present both challenges and opportunities, all of which must be seen through the complicated and often ambiguous lens of global citizenry. To deny this state of our current human existence is not only naive, but possibly foolhardy.

The future of our country and our world depends heavily on the recognition of global interconnectedness by our next generation. Understanding how and why we bring multiple views to the universal table of dialogue as we work to address our global challenges will be a required skill.

Thomas Paine, American revolutionary advocate, saw this opportunity for leadership as he said in 1776: "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind ... ."

Deborah Thornburgh
Program director
The Dignity Center at The Orchard School

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