A Few More Clues
Not so long ago, I spoke with a German agricultural student that had just spent the summer with an Iowa soybean farmer. The student and I met in the Philippines where I had returned after graduate school to visit friends I had made while serving in the Peace Corps.
My first question was his impression of the United States. He replied, "No one knows more about soybeans than an American soybean farmer, but after that, he hasn't got a clue!” I suspect that would apply to most Americans. As we decline as a world power, and the quality of life improves for relatively few families, both here and internationally, we need at least our young people to have a real understanding of other cultures, perspectives and economies.
Tragically, America's largest international relations program involves college-age students patrolling streets with machine guns and rocket launchers. What if we had a national student exchange program that required living in another culture for six months to obtain a college degree? Money? Let’s classify it as a military defense program so it’ll be assured of increased and continued funding. Maybe we would have sewn the seeds for democracy in many more countries without the bloodshed, and provided a new generation with a few more “clues”.