Friday, September 15, 2023

#258 / An Intimacy Problem?

Faith Hill, a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, thinks that "discomfort with intimacy seems to be on the rise." Isabel Fattal, a senior editor at the magazine, suggests in her article, "America's Intimacy Problem," that this is the reason that "people seem to be losing trust in one another." My bet is that these editors are on to something - and after reading their commentaries, my thoughts flew to politics.

When people no longer trust one another, our politics is bound to suffer. Fattal notes, in her discussion, that "recent research and anecdotal evidence suggest that Americans are growing more wary not only of 'hypothetical, nameless Americans,' but of their own colleagues, neighbors, friends, partners, and parents."
Is there an antidote?
Well, you won't find any antidote in your Facebook feed, or in those "Tweets" that flock your way on the one-time Twitter. Real, direct, and personal engagement with other people who, along with you, are trying to achieve a particular political objective - from nuclear disarmament and world peace, to reducing fossil fuel use by your employer, to the installation of a protected bike lane on a well-traveled street in a local community - is actually the best way to get beyond distrust and suspicion. 
You may remember that Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement, had the audacity to proclaim that participation in that struggle was, in and of itself, a way to build "the beloved community." The commentary that Zeynep Tufekci makes about the Civil Rights Movement, in the TED Talk video I am linking right here, is also a worthwhile observation on how the right kind of political involvement can build a powerful and enduring community.
I am inclined to believe that Martin Luther King, Jr. was on to something. How about we give his example another try?
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