Zera's Blog

A Citizen's View from Main Street

Redefining Citizenship

I cannot remember the last time I heard the word “citizenship” used to refer to a code of socially responsible conduct instead of a legal status. Until WWII, we were a nation that mostly stayed in the home town or on the family farm. We built careers with a single employer. Lack of mobility created pressure to achieve tolerance, cooperation, and understanding. It was the age of the “melting pot” culture.

Modern communications and personal transportation have made us a far more mobile population than we used to be. Instead of facing our differences and resolving them, we can now ignore our own community and drive to a community that reinforces our opinions instead of challenging them. The front porch and the “gossip fence” used to be important forums for building a sense of community. Now it’s a deck in the back and a privacy fence. With the Internet, you don’t even have to leave your house to join a “comfort zone” community. Generations of gerrymandering have created pockets of political stasis. We are now in an age of “smelting pot” culture. This may prove to be the fatal flaw in the great experiment.

Terms like “job-hopping”, “outsourcing”, and “off-shoring” have entered into use. There used to be no need for such terms.

Conservatives, by definition, are resistant to change. But modern conservatives have become the Peter Pans of politics, trying to take back Neverland. The world has changed around us while we have stagnated and even built up our own competition. The world has grown up around us, and our place in it has never been so precarious.

Lithium is key to the new generation of electric cars, and the some of the biggest reserves are in Latin “who cares what they think about how we treat illegal immigrants” America and “just give it up” Afghanistan. We have cut back on domestic production and let the industry atrophy for the sake of cheaper foreign imports. We are already fighting over domestic water rights in the face of diminishing supplies. But the environment will take care of itself no matter what we do to it, right? Resources are diminishing even while the population grows and demand increases.

Businesses aggressively protect their own interests without regard for the needs of society or the good of the country. Sometimes without regard for their own long-term interests. I once worked for a company that was destroyed by it’s own stockholders. There is a great deal we can do, and could have done already, if only special interests would “get out of the way.”



July 26, 2010 - Posted by | Direction | , ,

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