In Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, the Druid Panoramix, of that unconquerable village shared with Astérix the Gaul, came away with a scroll from the Library of Alexandria. Could it have contained what we see in the image above? Unlike Queen Cleopatra, we do not have to speak ten languages, but studying at least two or three can help widening one’s perspective, and build empathy.
FDR’s Four Freedoms, particularly freedom from fear, are echoed in this funny, but informative French film. From fear of being fed to Sacred Crocodiles to fear of losing face, languages and learning play a key role in this film, as in our real world today. Languages and libraries can also play a key role in moving us from our current world situation to one in which every human being is free from fear. Here is one proposal for how I hope we could move on, from #publicdomaininfrastructure as phase I, to phase IV’s #freeRoomAndRice for every person.
Phase I, already coming into motion, involves both humanizing all people in the eyes of one another, and building up existing infrastructure that contribute most directly to our long-term democratic institutions. The arts and media have been effective, historically, in sculpting ways of seeing the world, and in bearing witness to events. This is important for building empathy. Films like Astérix..Cléopatre, books like the Harry Potter series, and TV series like Babylon 5 all help. But our institutions also need support, in order to support us over the long haul.
Events over the last four years have shown us all the importance of 1.) both public education and also of adult education in the local community, as well as ongoing availability of 2.) free legal and financial advice. These sets of needs all come together in 3.) the institution of the Public Library system, as does one other: 4.) the public health system. Public health relies heavily on the assumption that both basic health education and current information are accessible to the entire population. Thus, all four parts of our infrastructure: transport, libraries and early education, adult continuing education (especially free financial and legal), and access to health care, impact all of us at all income levels. So, the hashtag #publicdomaininfrastructure was created to pull together those specific issues as a way to focus on a reduced set of areas that could have a higher impact on the lives of many people. In doing so, energy and time are freed up to allow more constructive solution sets to be created to all of our problems. Once transportation and knowledge are established in support of general health, ways of funding our remaining critical policy needs can be found, starting with reducing the needless and crushing collections burden many face for medical and student debt. Once reduced, these burdens then allow time and energy for more apprenticeships, tutoring, and ways of educating ourselves that allow for far more cooperation and community building.
Phase II can then begin to lay the groundwork for new ways of seeing ourselves and our responsibilities toward one another. More to come on Phase II soon (in about 10 years or so)…
More ways of supporting the requisite empathy, which must exist first in order for our society to care enough to pull together in mutual aid, include books, film, and other forms of media, like comic books, aka graphic novels, and music. All of these media have a strong effect on ways that people view the world, and so, here are some Action Items in support of #PublicDomainInfrastructure that artists can take over the next ten years or so:
1.) Write a novel that both tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.
2.) Write blog posts pointing folks to non-profits that offer pro Bono legal aid and free financial education for those most needing it, such as The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, in South Carolina.
3.) Draw or caligraph something in favor of Universal Health Care.
4.) Write songs or music that get people thinking about public transportation, like the song ‘Walkin to New Orleans’ by Fats Domino
Other ideas welcome on how to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail, starting with improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
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