By Dr David laing Dawson
And further more, Justin:
There are two impulses within each of us. The “I” and the “We”. Sometimes compatible, often in conflict, these impulses are played out in the bedrooms, the boardrooms, the courtrooms, and the Government assemblies of our nations. Between WWII and a few years ago the world saw a remarkable surge of “we-ness”, of cooperation, of global alliances, of consideration for the other, of peace keeping, of disaster response. Each year saw fewer people die of starvation and preventable illness. Each year saw fewer people die from murder, genocide, and war. (Despite each of these now being visible in our living rooms, and thus occupying more of our mental real estate)
Apart from international and world concerns “We-ness” also produces good public education for all, health care for all, opportunity for all, and a solid social safety net.
It was the short sighted “I-ness” of many nations that inexorably drifted into WWI (with a special boost from Kaiser Wilhelm who was the Donald Trump of an earlier time), and then, with the unresolved grievances of WWI, into WWII.
But American culture has always promoted the “I” over the “We” and at its best this can produce the Edisons, Fords, and Jobs of this world, and economic, scientific, entrepreneurial progress, and enough money to help the other while sacrificing little.
It is the existence within ourselves of these two often conflicting impulses that has taken us to the top of the food chain, the dominance of our planet, our overpopulation, and our ability to destroy it all.
But we have reached a tipping point. In America a cartoon of “I-ness” was elected president. Briefly we watched “We-ness” as embodied in Bernie Sanders go up against the “I-ness” of Trump and we had hope for America.
Whatever the nuances of MAGA it does not bode well for this world as a whole. The America that led much of the “We-ness” between WWII and a few years ago is dormant or deceased.
Now here is the rub. The “I-ness” of current America will provoke an “I-ness” in the rest of us. And thus we could slip back into the inexorable dialogue of Wilhelm, Nicolas, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Wilson and Franz Josef.
So, Justin, it is imperative that leaders like yourself fill the vacuum of “We-ness” on the world stage. Time to be Mike Pearson. Speak at the UN. Form alliances, free trade pacts, promote disaster relief, peace keeping, the end of land mines, the denuclearization of all, peaceful solutions to conflicts, a two state solution for Palestine, open arms for refugees, women’s health and education, birth control and abortion……… as well as my earlier proposal for carbon capture.