Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Beyond the Melting Pot
But, just because American society is beyond the melting pot, and people want to express their unique backgrounds and aspirations [which is a good thing, fine and healthy], doesn’t mean we have to have political polarization, exclusion, lack of consensus and compromise, demonization of those who disagree or are different, and rampant incivility.
It is quite possible for us to get along, agree on the important things like mutual respect, inclusion, civility, consensus, compromise and dialogue and be very, even extremely different from one another. In fact, all of
most cherished ideals are about that very thing—epluribus unum—out of many,
We have a choice about which goal and which set of behaviors we support: inclusion or exclusion, mutual respect or demonizing, civility or incivility, dialogue or stone-walling. First and foremost, it is an individual choice.
The changes in communication technology Marlow described and noted in yesterday’s post, are not discrete, that is, the circular oral norms, have not been completely erased by the linear, writing norms, nor have either of them been erased by the electronic norms. All three co-exist and we use all three in different situations. Here too, we have a choice about using the technology that is most supportive of our goals: inclusion or exclusion, mutual respect or demonizing, civility or incivility, dialogue or stone-walling. This choice too, is first and foremost, an individual choice.
Choice: we can be passive victims of technological evolution and nasty political mishigas - which pretty much originates with one side, or we can be proactive decision makers and choose, no matter what the seeming conditions, behaviors that support a world that works for everyone and everything.
Society is a collection of individuals and groups. It can change from the top-down, or the bottom-up. In democracies, even a so-called democracy like ours, society usually begins to change from the bottom-up, then the ‘up’ catches wise and rides the horse in the direction it’s going.
My choice and your choice matter.