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July 23, 2014
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Overcoming our differences

Mike Uretsky

• Nothing substitutes for a first-rate education system—one that provides a basis to grow, to change and to move on to the next step, whether it be jobs or more education. The data is clear. More education results in more income, better health and comfort in dealing with change.

• A diverse industry provides a combination of immediate and future jobs. It has an ecosystem that grows and attracts entrepreneurs. It attracts newcomers who want to start businesses here and who want to retire here.

• A vibrant middle class is essential. It is the backbone that enables growth, makes the community more inviting, and enables meaningful civic involvement.

• Most significantly, all of the above must facilitate respect and an open dialogue. While we like to talk about American as a melting pot, it is really a stew—one where the flavors are different, but work together.

Meaningful progress calls for a fundamental change of thinking. We need to stop looking at “them” as the cause of our ills, or the source of solutions that never seem to come. Instead, recognize that we (all taken together) have the resources needed to determine our own destiny. To be trite, paraphrasing Jack Kennedy, “Let (us) explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us…. Ask not what (others) will do for you, but what together we can do for (our community).”

[Mike Uretsky is a resident of Damascus, PA.]