I made the mistake of thinking about this assignment as simply and merely a task that needed to be completed so that I could enjoy my weekend. I did not view it as an opportunity to learn, nor did I view it as an opportunity to grow as an individual. I viewed it as an assignment that I had to complete. And so I unwillingly made my way to McManus Theater, to attend the “Writers at Work” event run by Professor Terre Ryan along with Professor Ron Tanner. Even though I went to the Writing Forum with the wrong attitude, I had an incredible time listening to what Professors Ryan and Tanner had to say, and I truly enjoyed my time there as it has given me new perspective on this assignment and American life today.
Professor Ryan read an excerpt from her non-fiction book titled This Ecstatic Nation. In what she read, Professor Ryan recounted her visit to Rainier Mesa, a former American nuclear test site during the Cold War. She recounted all of the destruction which she viewed at Rainier Mesa, however the most striking thing for me, that she discussed was the US Armies first detonation of a nuclear bomb, in 1945. The name of the bomb she was talking about was not Little Boy or Fat Man, the bombs we dropped on Japan, but she was talking about the test bomb that was dropped in New Mexico named Trinity. She asks how America could use that term to name such a destructive weapon. Trinity describes the very nature of God, and the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it should not be the name of a nuclear weapon. God by way of the Trinity created life and the nuclear bomb named Trinity is designed to take away life.
Professor Tanner then followed Professor Ryan however unlike her book, This Ecstatic Nation, Professor Tanner’s work was a fictional piece based on a real life pacific island called Kwajalein Atoll. Kwajalein Atoll is home to a sophisticated United States military base where missile testing takes place. While Professor Tanner’s work is fiction the Kwajalein Base and missile testing do exist, and he, like Professor Ryan asks the question are these nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles necessary for American’s to be researching and developing even though such weapons can lead to such disaster and destruction?
Kolvenbach’s writing, “The Service and Promotion of Justice in Jesuit Higher Education” helped me find more of a resolution to the question posed at the Writers Forum. He says “Thanks to science and technology, human society is able to solve problems such as feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, or developing more just conditions of life, but remains stubbornly unable to accomplish this.” America’s technological advances are evident in the success of the nuclear programs, however there are no doubt still Americans living in poverty. Kolvenbach makes the point that perhaps too many resources are going to areas which are not as useful as spending money improving the education system for poor and less privileged children. Improving education begins at the local level in the United States, because fact is that the educational needs of a child who lives in inter-city Chicago, are different than the needs of a child who resides in rural Gaffney, South Carolina.
Education is the way out of poverty for under privileged youth in America. No government handout or welfare check can do for a poor family what education can. And when it comes the military technology, America must stay ahead of the rest of the world, but if we can do that in a more cost efficient and effective way, then American can truly become a nation where all people have freedom of opportunity, no matter their skin color or gender or even socio-economic background.