Friday, December 18, 2020

#353 / A New American Story?


Not so long ago, I started subscribing to a blog called "Empty Wheel." I haven't, so far, read enough postings to be able to get a truly good fix on its politics or perspective, but the blog apparently features the writings of a small group, all of whom seem to know each other. The members of the group don't always agree, at least as I am reading things, but they all appear to be interested in the society, politics, and economy of the United States. Wikipedia tells me that Marcy Wheeler is the instigator and ringleader, but I am still not truly clear about who is doing what at Empty Wheel.

At any rate, I was first attracted to Empty Wheel by tracking down a reference I saw to a November 3, 2020, blog post by "Quinn." Her piece was titled, "What Comes After America." I am interested in that question, so I clicked and read her post (and then subscribed to Empty Wheel). 

What I took to be a competing idea was advanced in another Election Day blog posting - this one by "Rayne" - who seemed to dispute Quinn's hypothesis. Rayne's blog post was titled, "We're So Not Through Here." 

On November 22, 2020, an unattributed blog post (which I take to be by Marcy Wheeler herself) commented on what both Quinn and Rayne had said, and opined that "We Need A New Common American Story." 

Perhaps what I am about to say will be discounted as an effort to protect the site, but I think both Quinn and Rayne had important and not inconsistent things to say. Importantly, both focus on the idea of America, pointing to its culture and diversity as something that needs salvaging. Both point to things that need to happen — committed activism and legal changes — for this country to survive.

Which is why I want to talk about something that we can try to do, and very much need to do, for that to work.

We need a new story about America.

I think there's truth to the ideda that we need a "new story," but Quinn's November 3, 2020, posting, should you choose to read it, suggests we start over from scratch, and I do NOT agree with that. To my mind, we can tell a coherent, and rather inspirational story, if we try to understand how all of the following documents speak to us in this present moment: 

If we all came truly to understand these documents, and to understand that these are the documents that "tell our story," and to which we owe our common allegiance, we would be well on our way to another 200 years or so of work together with a common purpose. 

There is truly a lot of work to do!

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