Our Generation’s Enlightened Contribution

I am moved by this post, which relates an unfortunate incident on a train from New Haven CT to the dominant cultural narrative currently unfolding. [Grammatical ambiguity intended.] In 2002 and 2003 – seems so long ago, now, doesn’t it? – I remember thinking that the tone of America’s leadership would have a trickle-down effect on everyday life. Like buying a new car and suddenly seeing the same model everywhere, I then noticed trickle-down effects every day. Increased minor road rage, even in my small New England hamlet. More status-seeking behavior as the College and Hospital swelled their administrative ranks. Increased “black and white” judgments – “you’re either with us or against us.” That smug tone from the 50.5% majority, still in evidence on Fox News, even as their influence wanes. The victim mentality of the so-called “left,” still in evidence at the US Congress, despite Democratic majorities in both houses.
I want to live in a society where people are kind, where we assume the best in people, not the worst. I want to understand dangers and threats, but I want that balanced by the trade-offs required for increased marginal safety. I want honest leadership, that is open and transparent and genuine. I want us all to face up to our collective challenges and take individual action even if it has negative short-term impacts on our own economics. I want to be free of jingoism. I want to be able to write a post like this without wondering if I’ll end up on some list somewhere.
I am naive. But I’d rather be a free man in my grave, than living as a puppet or a slave.