May 9, 2022

America's real divide

Sam Smith - The Supreme Court's draft decision on abortion is another example of the real divide in America. It's not an issue of ethnicity or gender, but of those with power vs. those without. Those with power enjoy what has been called a culture of impunity. They can do what they want without having to pay the consequences. Their victims are those without power. 

Much of this has to do with the rise of corporatist values. Success is not a matter of doing right but doing better than others. Among the values that are fading are cooperation, community, honesty and fairness.  Aiding all this is a media that admires success over decency. How often, for example, have you read about cooperatives in the major media? The only economic system valued by the media is traditional capitalism.

Part of the irony is that we still teach our young children positive and non-competitive values but beginning with high school drift towards preparing them to move ahead of others. The big danger in all this: those in power mainly care about themselves and thus are disinterested in, and incompetent about, saving the very institutions in which they have risen to the top. 

There is no easy solution to this but a first step is to recognize the crisis and to find ways to create decent systems of power modeled on  the ways you find practiced at a lower level, say in your town, your school or volunteer organizations. The media won't tell you this, but the salvation of America lies not among the powerful but in the wisdom, energy, decency and organized coalitions of ordinary souls.