A Voice of Reason on Our (Ripped) Social Fabric

The debacle in D.C. a year ago today was not the first sign of rips in our social fabric. We Americans love to disagree and squabble. It’s what we do. But usually, we pull together and move on. More recently, though, it seems as if social forces are setting ou deliberately to divide us and destroy our common threads. No, the attack on the Capitol just showed us serious the situation can become. Fortunately, we are better than that as a people, and we rejected the mob’s assault on America.

Today, I turn to David Brooks as a reassuring reminder of our common humanity and community commitment.

I knew of David Brooks as a conservative commentator before I saw him speak at the 2019 SXSW Edu conference — the most recent “live” one, due to the pandemic. He spoke there as founder of the Aspen Institute’s Weave Project, which “aims to build social trust to address the root cultural cause behind many of America’s social problems.”

SXSW Edu "Weave Project"He really enthralled me that day with his vision of seeking out the ‘weavers” in our society, those people who work to restore our common humanity, working to repair rips & tears in our social fabric.

I now find ongoing solace in following his columns in the New York Times (loved his wry reference to his role as a conservative commentator there zs similar to being the “head rabbi in Mecca”). Eventually, Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute to continue writing for the New York Times. Meanwhile, I started reading his column regularly.

Here are just a few of those from addressing the deep divide that . While I did pull a quote from each article,I recommend following the links to read the real deal.

How to Actually Make America Great Again
October 15, 2020

“The story of the American experiment in the twentieth century is one of a long upswing toward increasing solidarity, followed by a steep downturn into increasing individualism. From ‘I’ to ‘we’ and back again to ‘I’.”

What the Voters Are Trying to Tell Us
November 5, 2020

“Voters are not always wise, but they are usually comprehensible. They know more about their own lives than we in our information bubbles do, and they almost always tell us something important.”

2020 Taught Us How to Fix This
December 31, 2020

“This is the year that broke the truth. This is the year when millions of Americans — and not just your political opponents — seemed impervious to evidence, willing to believe the most outlandish things if it suited their biases, and eager to develop fervid animosities based on crude stereotypes.

“I’m among those who think this is an inflection point, a step back from madness. We’re a divided nation, but we don’t need to be a nation engulfed in lies, lawlessness and demagogic incitement.

On this anniversary of that horrific attack on our freedoms last year, it helps to seek out the people who are still working to build community, the weavers who help repair the wear & tear on our nation’s social fabric. I look to David Brooks as one of the leading lights in those efforts whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by the deliberate divisiveness that threatens our social fabric. His words shift the focus instead to our shared commonalities, the true source of  our country’s strength.


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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