What America Needs Now
It’s time for a new movement; a deep and broad movement. Hamilton Nolan *
There are so many issues with the new president — racism, sexism, xenophobia, inequality, profoundly dangerous lack of judgement –– we need to unite against them. Divided we fall, united we stand. To be interdependent is to be mutually dependent. I depend on you and you depend on me. We depend on them and they depend un us. Democrats depend on republicans and republicans depend on democrats. In his farewell speech Obama said that democracy doesn’t require uniformity, but it does require a basic sense of solidarity. Does that sound like America today?
After declaring our independence it required a war to achieve it. Cultivating interdependence seems a better strategy than war. War requires two sides, two enemies. Interdependence means one side, one “tribe”. Today, America is a land of many sides, many tribes. We tend to see the world from an in-group, out-group perspective. Clay Farris Naff ** explains today’s perspective:
Our instincts evolved to cope with intense in-group competition for status, and even more intense intergroup competition as small bands of hunter-gathers clashed over territory, mates, and resources.
Trump ignited a simmering “us and them” mentality by relentlessly and recklessly exploiting another powerful instinct: resentment.
Humans are prone to treat one another decently, lovingly, sometimes heroically — but only when we recognize one another as members of the same family. Cast someone in the out-group, and there are no constraints.
Seeing and Doing Interdependence
On space ship earth there are no pilots, only crew. Buckminster Fuller
A declaration of interdependence must be followed by a practice of interdependence. Achieving interdependence takes both seeing and doing; both vision and action. See the big picture, a holistic picture. A new collective vision is needed. We don’t need a visionary leader, we need a public with respect for a broad, holistic, inclusive vision.
After seeing we need doing. We need to resist tribalism. Extreme loyalty to the in-group is not interdependence. Interdependence is about the common good: of the people, by the people, and for the people. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
We evolved to live in kin-based groups of 150 or fewer, not in mass societies of 300 million or more. That is a problem. Clay Farris Naff
In America, how realistic do you believe seeing and doing interdependence is for politicians and the public? In the world?
*The New Movement Starts Now. Utne Reader. Winter, 2016
**Make America Kind Again. The Humanist, Jan/Feb. 2017