Our country faces enormous issues:
-A world pandemic that will not be short-lived.
-Escalating government debt that is too large to be repaid.
-Public pension funds that are insufficient to serve the flood of retiring baby boomers
-Insufficient Jobs capable of supporting a family for the non-college educated majority
-Income inequality at a 100-year high
-A modern industrial way of life that is environmentally unsustainable.
-Systemic racism triggering demonstrations/riots in over 200 cities
To make matters worse, collective trust in foundational institutions like corporations, congress, police, the judicial system, organized religion, and the press, are low and trending down. Technology, often cited as an answer, is a sword that cuts both ways. Self-driving vehicles and advanced robotics will ultimately displace a large segment of the work force.
Times of great cataclysm birth new beginnings; The U.S. Revolution, The Civil War, World War 2. I believe we are in such a time; perhaps not as bad, but trending in that direction. We find ourselves in an epoch Neil Howe calls, “The Fourth Turning”, a period of societal breakdown. (Covered in his prescient 1997 book).
There was a time when I believed the pursuit of individual interests summed to the best outcome for the country. But, it’s clearly more complicated than that! Individualism hasn’t turned out to be what those of us who came up through the “me” decades envisioned. I am an optimist, but I increasingly find myself wondering how we are going to “get it back to good”.
It’s too soon to tell, but during the past week, we may have witnessed the “green shoots” of an answer! Following nightly riots in Minneapolis, hundreds of people turned out with brooms and shovels to clean up the mess. After a tanker-truck driver plowed into demonstrators on highway 35W, some of them came to his rescue. After a policeman in full riot gear became separated from his squad, a group of African American men formed a circle around him to protect him from harm. Elsewhere police officers knelt in solidarity with demonstrators.
Are we so fed up that we are ready to work together for change?
I’m not sure, but I believe in the power of the “we”!
At work, the best results were achieved when competing functions worked together. Sports teams win championships when athletes bench self-interests and band together. Perhaps it’s also true for society.
Boomer individualism seems to have run its course. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new beginning! Maybe society is ready for the evolution of “we”!
What if we set aside our differences and behaved as if it were true?
Link to previous posts: https://tim-coats.com/posting-briefs/