She lived in a little house, on a little lake, with a little rowboat, with a little family…
She spent countless hours pouring over the news, searching for something to hang on to. He spent years wondering why his wife of twenty years spent so much time on such things, but he recognized with grief, one had to stay busy at something.
They had a son together who had been shipped into a war that he ultimately chose to disagree with, but he still committed himself to the duty he volunteered for. It cost him his life shortly after he came to that conclusion. Searching for an answer to stop this from happening to other children, led his mother to her revelation.
For a very long time, politicians had classified their wars as the wars of the nations they belonged to. She didn't know really when it began, perhaps it had been that way since the dawn of time. Men and women alike fought these wars that politicians claimed were good deeds for their "country", on all sides. In some countries fighting was voluntary, in others it was obligatory, but always there was someone in government or some role of leadership making their wars those of others.
She was watching the news one night, listening to a national news reporter talk about what the American people think, when an idea entered her mind...an idea bigger than nations. What if those who voted for war, regardless of their age, were required to fight them. Instead of sitting safely back in some remote tent directing progress alongside generals or in a congressional or presidential palace or hall, what if they were required by law to actually fight on the front lines, weapons in hand, side by side with young men and women who volunteered or were otherwise sent into the service of fighting
While she was at it she began to think of other things like term limits for congressional members and limited and equal budgets for political campaigns; a flat tax for all citizens and the restoration of regulatory controls in financial sectors; a law that required a certain percentage of the population to approve pay raises for political representatives, removing their ability to vote for their own pay raises. The list went on and on.
She then created a website with a discussion board and mentioned it to a few friends who had lost loved ones to war as well. The site took off like wildfire and an American Spring was born. Within a short year and a half, America had its first female president: her. In the following years almost the entire Congress had been voted out and replaced by citizens who volunteered to serve without pay for the first year of their political career, donating their income instead to the restoration of the social security fund, which previous administrations had borrowed against and failed to repay. It wasn't enough, but it was a start.
Citizens of other countries, like those involved in the Arab Spring, crowd-sourced their ideas about better forms of government together across the Internet. They agreed to new laws regarding warfare and economic lending and trade policies and promoted their ideals through political and legal systems (in some cases the systems were newly established). Many countries became members of a world court in which to settle disputes but retained the right to exit their membership should they deem a judgement unjust, and rules were defined as to what unjust meant.
In her own country, public education was increased from 12 to 16 years. Political officials were also required to have degrees in public service which could be attained in those 16 years of education.
As lifespans had slowly increased over the last century, the age at which one was considered an adult was moved to 25. Many rights were still guaranteed at 18, and some actually dropped to 15, but the age at which the brain was thought to have matured in both sexes was thought to be around 25.
Industries and pop culture shifted resources and investments into space; after all a solar system of resources awaited further exploration and utilization. Science fiction in many cases led a new economy into science fact and overall living became better as people banded together toward a goal-driven future instead of popularly clinging to a soon-descending past.
She completed an eight year term, having been reelected after four years of service and devoting much of what she financially earned to families in need who had lost loved ones to wars now put to rest. She retired on the publication proceeds of a memoir she had started years before the American Spring began.
Somewhere within that memoir she had written down her original idea that had changed the entire political view of her nation and many others, "We are not nations, we are people, you and I. We each have a voice. Though we may sometimes be whole in our goals, we must maintain the right to disagree as individuals and shelter and protect the rights of those who choose to disagree. It is not about the greatest good for the greatest number served, unless the rights of the individual are protected at the same time."
She lived in a little house, on a little lake, with a little rowboat, with a little family, yet she had ideas bigger than nations.