Are you an optimist about the future of America?
I’m in a deeply pessimistic state right now, but I’m hoping some of you will give me some cause for optimism. I see some individuals seeking to build bridges, to develop an understanding of “the other side,” to even consider modifying their own points of view. It just feels to me that there are not enough of them.
My sense is that the majority of us are engaged in confirmation bias all day, every day, i.e. the process by which we only read or accept information or opinions that support our current point of view. We know of this tendency, and that should prompt us to work for momentary neutrality while listening to alternative points of view. Yet we engage in mental arguments the moment we hear “other” ideas. How do we break out of this?
How do we break the habit of judging the character of people with whom we disagree? Even if some of them are truly awful, many of them are actually regular people whose thinking diverged from yours at some point and now they are there and you are here. You might well agree with them on some things, even some important things. Are you willing to look for areas of agreement, or even just areas of shared concern?
Congress is broken. None of us can fix it, so we must look to ourselves for a way out of our mess. I truly fear for our country going forward, and I fear for the world if the US fall apart. Our history is full of mistakes, at home and abroad, but our ideals are worth the effort to get us back on track. In my humble opinion.
How do you view the prospects for our country, our society, going forward?