Friday, December 22, 2017

Brief blurts about tribes and tribalism — Thomas Friedman

I ceased some years ago to have much interest in what Friedman thinks and writes, but in this opinion piece he exhibits a pertinent cognition of the tribalism spreading in America:

“It’s too soon to say for sure, of course, whether this is a national trend, but when the majority in a deep-red state like Alabama — where anti-abortion sentiments run so high, making it nearly impossible for a pro-choice Democrat to be elected — repudiates the effort by Trump and Bannon to turn us from citizens into tribes, there is hope for the country after all. It is a real sign of health. …

“But even with Jones’s victory in Alabama I worry that technology — social networks in particular — and archaic laws that prevent new players from entering politics work against the emergence of such national leaders. I worry that irreversible damage is being done to our norms and institutions by this poisonous cocktail of Trump, Twitter and tribalism. …

“We are going through a similar period of rapid change today. The pace of destructive weather events is quickening; the world is going from interconnected to interdependent; and machines and software are devouring ever more middle- and even high-skill jobs. The country needs a plan for investing in more resilient cities, in lifelong learning systems for every worker and in a safety net of mobile/universal health care. And what do we have instead? A highly tribal Republican tax bill that targets none of those issues.

“But maybe, maybe just maybe, the narrow majority in Alabama has sent both Trump and the country a message. We are fed up with your cynicism, we are fed up with your effort to break us into tribes, we want a president who is a uniter not a divider, because we have big hard work to do as a country right now — and it can only be done together.”

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