Who will we be?

If yesterday was (rightly) a day for remembering, it seems to me that today is one for introspection. As a country, who do we want to be? How big is the gap between who we are and who we long to be? How do we close that gap?

Thanks to Jake Bouma, yesterday I saw this Atlantic piece by David Foster Wallace. Sure, it’s from 2007. But it certainly seems to still be relevant. Wallace asks excellent questions. Questions worthy of introspection:

what if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? And, thus, that ours is a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices in order to preserve our democratic way of life—sacrifices not just of our soldiers and money but of our personal safety and comfort?…

Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don’t even want to consider whether some things trump safety? What kind of future does that augur? [read the rest]

Not unlike the questions I recently asked of the church, I want the U.S. to be able to have conversations about things that matter. Conversations like Wallace suggests. That would require, however, people willing to actually listen to one another, rather than simply demonize, ignore, and shout down. Given our current level of political discord, that sounds sadly like a nigh impossible task. How do we close the gap between who we are and who we want to be?

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