Like many people, I am worried for the future of my country. Every day seems to bring more unseemly disclosures about our current administration, and policies are being enacted that seem to condradict any moral sense of right and wrong. Gallons of ink (and terabytes of bits) are spilt every day chronicling each new revelation, and it seems most of my friends and family members hover over the news sites, clicking refresh, waiting for the latest developments.
I feel the pull of that. I have participated in it. Vigilance is unquestionably important. There’s a strong temptation to chronicle every outrage. But I started this blog to focus on something else. I want to think about what’s next.
I take it as an article of faith that eventually the truth will out. We may have an impeachment, we may have an election, we may have indictments. But the damage will already have been done. The trust will be lost, and American leadership in the world will be irreparably damaged. But what is happening in the United States is bigger than one President, and we need to start thinking about where we go from here.
I work in the field of conflict resolution. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to heal divisions — whether in small, two-person disputes, or in large, multiparty disputes. I believe conflict is part of the human condition, and it always will be. But what we can do is work to promote communication and understanding so as to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict — and to prevent conflict from escalating into destruction and violence.
Our nation is under siege from forces that want to exacerbate conflicts between American citizens for their own purposes. Some of those forces want to undermine American power and legitimacy, others just want to get rich. But the inescapable reality is that we are being actively divided by savvy operatives that know exactly what they are doing. And they are using the openness of our society and the latest technological tools to achieve their ends.
Hence the title of this post, and the theme of this blog. E pluribus unum, Latin for “One from many,” was adopted as the de facto unofficial motto of the United States by an Act of Congress in 1782. We are the United States of America, and our unity is essential to the functioning of our democracy. If we are going to heal our nation, we need to be as savvy as those who are working to divide us. We need to build a movement that restores sanity and morality in our country, not by resisting the future, but by embracing it.
Americans spend a lot of time talking about how to build peace in other countries around the world. But we need to think about how to build peace here in the United States as well. We have a growing economic and cultural rift that threatens our nation’s future, and we need to think about how to heal that rift if we are to preserve the American experiment for future generations.
In this blog, I plan to talk about how we can do that.