You say I'm a dreamer ...

But I'm not the only one! Those inspiring lyrics by John Lennon in his song "Imagine" are very powerful and prophetic. In an arts and theater town, filled with creative and dynamic people, and also a college town with amazing bright students and professors, we can manifest the best ideas for a renewed belief in America, and Southern Oregon.

While interviewing with Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Vickie Aldous about the proposed trolley for Ashland, she became a bit discouraged with me when I told her this project cannot proceed without a critical mass of people who are willing to work for it. It is OK to be a dreamer, but thousands must embrace and shape a dream to manifest something new that works.

I praise and thank Vickie for advancing the concept of viable transportation for locals and tourists. She did a great deal of research to ferret out obstacles, opposition and allies, as well as define the need for expanded eco-tourism and public transportation in Southern Oregon.

The challenges of the future need to be addressed by all of us, and especially young people getting involved to move energy and identify and dismantle blockages in current thinking, beliefs, and legislative and financial encumbrances. Much depends on Generation X for leadership and balance, and plenty hangs in the balance for Generation Y to add their sheer numbers, discontent and genius to the mix.

Recently I attended a workshop facilitated by SOU students, and was impressed with their insights and their humanity. However, when a student informed me he really didn't care about politics, meaning the Democrats or Republicans, I asked him to please try and care since these groups are the ones who control all our tax dollars!

All of us who are likewise disenchanted with traditional political practices could visit and join, or, Peace House in Ashland, League of Women Voters, or any other nonpartisan organization working for fairness and the future.

I have been "dreaming" of many things to improve this valley, this country and our chances for a better future. Looking back on the past three years, I see how much precious time has been lost and sometimes I think we must substitute the word "survivability" for everywhere we used to say "sustainability."

Talk is a problem and so are "talking, floating heads." To a terrifying extent our leadership seems intent on ignoring the underlying problems of resources and is again ready to take us on a fanciful flight involving polarizing distractions, self-indulgence, faulty investment strategies, denial of basic freedoms and addiction to credit, celebrity, oil and drugs.

I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one! I must say no to systems that are not supportable in light of the new economy. There is a preponderance of proof that "trickle down" simply doesn't work and overwhelming evidence that a jobs program, new export policies and intelligent, practical innovation to conserve fuel and natural resources must be our top priorities.

It is time for all "dreamers" to awake and unite in practical and strident commitments to a new dream. Write letters, show up at policy setting meetings, get your signs out and create opportunities for head counts of how many of you lack jobs, or a positive view of a future for your lives.

Catie Faryl lives in Phoenix.

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