STEAMPowerLogoClearThe United States of America is a country unlike any other our planet has ever seen.  It is even in her darkest hours a source of hope and light for the entire world.  It’s hard to explain precisely why that is.  I say that because we are more now than ever a melting pot of cultures and though our ideas are often at odds, our ideals unite us consistently.  We are country that holds rugged individualism and love of neighbor in equal esteem.  We may not always realize it, and at times we may not show it, but we are country that honestly believes in the self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

America is always at her best when the People and our elected leaders are striving for the seemingly unattainable.  A simple belief that tomorrow will be better than today.  Right now though we are in a rut.  The national psyche is reflected in the condition of our national infrastructure.  We are consumed by demonstrating our greatness by looking in our rear view mirror at everything we have accomplished.  We talk about what MADE America great as though that is good enough for what WILL make America great.  We seem to believe that past generations paid for our global status in perpetuity and that no work will be required to sustain that greatness.  Sadly, as our national infrastructure decays around us, it should serve as a reminder that the intangibles that made us great will suffer the same fate if left to atrophy.  And if we truly want to pay homage to our ancestors we can’t simply put back what we inherited, we must leave it better than we found it.  Something we have not done in decades.  So while we must commit to improve our roads, bridges, water supplies, energy production, and all the other infrastructure that makes modern life possible; we must also recommit and improve upon our ideals.  No doubt if we were to write the Declaration of Independence today we would surely found that all People, not just men, are endowed by their creator unalienable rights.  Surely, if we were to write our Constitution today we would ensure that the scourge of slavery would have never touched our shores.  We must today realize that for America to outlive her next generation of citizenry we must lay a stronger foundation of ideals just as we must layer a stronger foundation for our physical infrastructure.  There is an area where these two worlds meet, the worlds of intangible idealism and pragmatic actions mesh when looked at through the lens of STEAM.  If America is to even survive, let alone thrive we must turn our gaze from what has been done before to what needs to be done tomorrow.  We must look through the unbiased lens of science and mathematics to determine what threatens our collective survival and happiness as a species and begin to tackle those problems.  We must apply technology and engineering to ridding ourselves of the threats so as to bring into existence a world that is safer, healthier, cleaner, more sustainable, and better equipped to meet future challenges.  Add in a pinch of artistic endeavor to remind ourselves we’re all made of star stuff and that we’re all here for but a blip in the grand scheme of space and time.  We are part of a larger tapestry in which we are not the beginning but we are given the awesome responsibility of choosing whether or not we will be the generation to end it all either through either feared-driven actions or by equally reckless inactions.  I believe the human spirit will, in the end, compel us to do the right thing.  I submit that data-driven adherence to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, grounded by a focus on humanistic goals and freedom of artistic expression; is our species best solution to solve the problems we will face both today and tomorrow.  The STEAM revolution is just starting.  But we have a ways to go.  Education reform is needed.  We also need a commitment by Government not to prevent scientific pursuit because of political ideology.  Finally as citizens we must become unafraid of change.  We must accept that status quo is not working and that we must embrace progress to move us forward.  We are in the grips between yesterday and tomorrow and failure to embrace the future is literally strangling us.  As Americans, we must take an honest self-assessment and realize the political partisanship is costing us dearly.  While very few benefit for the 24-hour news cycle bashing the other guy bonanza, we all lose in the resulting chaos and inaction.  We must hold our elected representatives at all levels accountable through the election process.  Take a look at the world around us.  China is landing rovers on the moon.  Russia is flying our astronauts into space because we don’t have our own space vehicle.  Our education system is consistently falling down the quality ladder with respect to other developed nations.  College education practically requires a mortgage.  Our national infrastructuring is held together by duct tape, literally in some cases.  Our Internet broadband speeds and Net Neutrality stances is a joke.  Our medical system and pharmaceutical industries are strangling our economy.  If we want to be seen as the best, we surely aren’t acting like it.  And in a world where a sound, picture of movie can be shared around the world in seconds, we can’t exactly hide that fact from the rest of the world anymore.  America, the Emperor has not clothes, and in a twist ending, we the People are the Emperor.  But with a little commitment to the pursuit of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics we can begin to change the odds in our favor.  It’s never too late to wake a Sleeping Dragon.