Promoting Dialogue and Investment in Civic Action
If anyone hasn't heard or read Maria Ressa's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech from 2 days ago, please do. She covers a lot of the same ground we have discussed here and has the courage of 1,000 people. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2021/ressa/lecture/
This guy works for the Aspen Institute, which is funded by a bunch of billionaire's trusts. Join a club? Give me a break. Why doesn't he talk about joining a union? I don't think that changing the "norms, values, narratives, assumptions about what's okay in everyday community life" are going to be enough to stop the powerful authoritarian forces that are now gaining strength.
Collective cohesion breaks down in society when any country has a sociopath in power. He becomes a role model and is emulated. Sociopaths are not guided by morals or ethics because they have no conscience. Many fascist nations have been led by sociopaths and the results that ensued were incredibly destructive. Sociopathic leaders tend to bind together those like minded people around them, while turning his clan agaist the outside enemy. It creates a very binary way of thinking with no compromise. It creates an "us vs them" mentality that demonizes their fellow citizens. The sense of victimhood and the feeling of being besieged is in keeping with past fascist nations. It is immensly important for our electorate to recognize sociopathic behavior (APD) in those running for office to prevent a calamity like we had with Trump. Preventing a calamity is easier than trying to fix a broken society after the fact.
The divide in America is a function of its vast media balkanization. As long as it exists there will be two clubs or should I say two Americas. One is fact and science based and values liberal democratic values the other is propaganda based and lives on lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories.
Mr. Liu's admirable mission might have been possible 5 years ago...before Trumpism had overtaken tens of millions of minds, but people who would ignore a life-saving vaccine are wholly uninterested in civil conversations. In fact, they crave the opposite...the crueler the comments, the more energized they seem. From their standpoint, they have joined a club...it's a club whose only principles are hatred of liberals, a distorted sense of freedom, and a judgment-free zone where crudity and bigotry are rewarded. We need to stabilize our country before we can hope to instill shared values. I suppose that there's a sliver of hope that the media might actually focus on the imminent implosion of democracy, or the Senate might pass meaningful legislation to preserve a skeleton of democracy, and the House and Senate might remain under Democratic control and expand SCOTUS, but frankly this sounds like a fairy tale. The groundwork to harden our democracy should have started 5 years ago, but Democratic leadership had neither will nor messaging discipline to make their case. Media failed repeatedly while facilitating the erosion of norms. Does anyone see a path to stop the slide into autocracy in less than a year?