01/09/02 - 10:57:51
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I agree with you about it potentially being easy to sit back & lament, etc.|
I think one problem IS the incredible paucity of information we get -- at least, from diverse sources & perspectives (including foreign).
Another, I think, is a perennial problem of how do we talk about what we find infuriating & appalling (etc.) without breeding cynicism & resignation?
Yet another (IMO): how difficult it's been in the U.S., on the left, to build good working coalitions between groups whose objectives at times differ & who also may disagree about priorities (this speaks to an issue Kevin keeps raising about his own preferred hierarchy of goals).
Back in the mid-80's, I read a book by Robert Bellah et al., called "HABITS OF THE HEART: Individualism and Commitment in American Life." They (mostly UC Berkeley sociologists) raised several questions ["How ought we to live? How do we think about how to live? Who are we, as Americans?" --etc.] & interviewed several hundred people. They especially wanted to know about communities: what kind do we think we have? what would we want?
Some of their conclusions, to me, seemed quite hopeful: that, contrary to what the mass media portrayed about the "Me Decade" of the 70's, or was portraying at the heights of the "I got mine"/yuppified 80's, a great many people in this country yearned for communities that were inclusive, democratic, pluralistic; that protected the environment, nurtured nonmaterialistic values, and supported families (very broadly defined). They found that we lacked a "social language" & structures to express these needs, and -- with the exception of people in religious communities & to a lesser extent, those who sought shelter in "therapeutic" realms -- we lacked an understanding of how to build on what we do (at least potentially) have. This seems to me still true. But perhaps now we are even more atomized, & it's harder to maintain hope. (Should I get up & go put on DS/VS --"The Dark Ages" ?)
I wonder if PK, M.C., Webmaster, et al. may get weary sometimes with all the thank-you's here on deck.
But, hey, TOUGH SHIT, you guys: you are giving us a truly open forum to be able to talk about some crucial issues (as well as to have fun & make each other laugh).
So, thanks again, damn it!
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