I've been laying low for the past year or so--busy with work (I finished a 7-year term as Department Chair), and busy with my research. I was on my first-ever sabbatical--where I wrote half a book, and I've been trying to make time to finish writing the book (Fear and It's Consequences) ever since. And, I've also been struck with an unusual (for me) paralysis. I simply don't know what to do to help restore communication and civility in a time where we really must figure this out. The US election, Brexit, and the rise of nationalism throughout the West is alarming.
I'm an American and our country is deeply divided. I am frustrated, scared, and saddened. Frustrated because the American Dream is shattering in front of our eyes--partially fueled by inequity, and partially fueled by fear of change. Scared because the rise of demagogues is not really a good way out. And, I'm saddened because I believe that liberal democracy is a good thing and that our past century's experiment with it may be coming to an end; not just in the US but throughout Western Europe. The World will be a very different place in the coming decades and it will not be a safer place.
I've been cooking, and having dinner parties (of course), but it's been harder to reach out and have hard conversations with folks who have a very different perspective. People are emboldened to be intransigent. We follow our own news unable to conceive there are different perspectives out there. We are more entitled than ever to believe that their perspective is the only correct perspective.
But it's never been more important to do so--to communicate with fellow citizens. And, it's also not been more important in a while to work together to make positive changes.
Regardless of whether you're surrounding yourselves with like-minded friends, or or neighbors with vastly different beliefs, we all can, and should, eat our way to civility. I'm going to try to share recipes and discoveries more regularly now. Open a good bottle of wine and have some friends over. Nibble on some apps, and talk politics. Just be polite because civility and politeness is what we really need now.