Mariner’s last post was about an unusually good Global Public Square (GPS) hosted by Fareed Zakaria on Sundays on CNN. Fareed’s subject matter is typically international in nature, dealing with economics and culture. He addresses the US political scene with fairness. To borrow just one quote, Bono said, “Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling.” Ironically, having feelings for a national ethos is not new. Rodney King said the same thing in 1992. The ‘spirit’ of unity is still around but buried beneath a burdensome amount of nationalism – a lot like mariner’s garden is hidden by humongous weeds.
But there are signs here and there that Homo sapiens has an internal nature that knows there is something important about belonging. It isn’t a feeling that requires one definition but is more like a membership among differently defined participants – differences that ironically contribute to a greater feeling of security and unity.
Mariner has a life example that speaks to Bono’s ‘feeling’. He knows two men who are close in their friendship. Conversation flows freely, events are shared, tools and physical support are shared, families participate in social events. It is clear that each man has the other man’s back. One would not believe this possible comparing the two biographic backgrounds.
Man-A is an intense advocate of Donald Trump; He wants to put Hillary in jail; People without jobs are derelict; Federal discretionary spending is a violation of his rights and obligations. Man-A grew up on a farm and has been a laborer and career big-rig truck driver for 40 years.
Man-B is a liberal who begrudgingly voted for Hillary because she had no vision about the future; Man-B thought Donald would destroy democracy. Man-B grew up in Pennsylvania in a college community; his parents were white collar workers in education. Man-B went to college and earned two graduate degrees; he worked for several government agencies.
How, we may wonder, can these two men be fast friends? Bono the poet had the right word: feelings. Feelings about each other’s worth as a human being determines what is good, as opposed to what is discriminatory, about their relationship.
By its nature nationalism and similar identity postures demand institutional authority sealed in a monolithic block. There is no space for diversity; there is no use for feeling. But feeling is a survival feature for humans; we are tribal down to our genome. As creatures of evolution and as members of the mammalian class, we must belong to other humans, not to an emotionless monolithic block of absolute rules devoid of ‘feeling.’
On November 6 vote with an awareness that the United States has been and will be a leader in the world not because it spends 10 times any other country’s budget on the military but because there is freedom to belong, to participate, to share humanness among our fellow mammalian Homo sapiens friends. The American experiment is at stake. Vote to restore American ethos.