A Post by Michael B. Spring

(A list of all posts by M.B. Spring)

Election (November 13, 2016)

Reflections on the 2016 Election for my Family

Thank you Jason and Justin for your thought and reflections on the election. These are thoughtful and much needed beginnings of a discussion we all need to have. Our world and our country are in the midst of great changes, some brought on by globalization, some brought on by ancient religious conflicts, some brought on by the impact of the new technologies, some brought on by humankind's relentless growth.

I don't want to be overly academic, especially as it relates to my own discipline, but the world is changing as we engage digital information, digital networks, and the avalanche of information that is the information revolution. To think that each of us carries multiple always-connected devices capable of sending and receiving millions of bits of information per second is astounding. Not only that, each of us is capable of producing movies, books, pictures that can be distributed to 10s, 100s, and 1000s of people instantaneously is without parallel in the history of civilization. We have become one single global society in some cases and in other cases we have splintered into thousands of tribes of people with separate values and interests.

Our world faces several challenges as all of its citizens enter into a single world. The aspirations of nations change as we can now all see each other and the discrepancies become very visible. In our own country, we are suffering from a lot of maladies. Many of those have to do with economic gulfs, denied biases and prejudices, lack of faith in something greater - be it religion or social cohesion. Our social and personal world, as little as 50 years ago was smaller, less noisy, more intimate, and by today's standards, more boring. We need a slower pace, more quiet, and more compassion.

The people I most respect are reflecting on the fact that each of us needs to do our bit to heal ourselves, those we care about, and those we see as fellow citizens of our cities, our country, and our world.

While telecommunications technologies, computing capabilities, and information storage and manipulation have shaken the foundations of our nation states, we are still biological and social beings who change very slowly. We still need to be held and hugged. We still cry and mourn. We still seek companionship and love and play.

Big ships turn slowly with much resistance from momentum. Large organizations can surely be influenced by single individuals, but it does take a village to raise a child. I am disturbed and I am concerned, but I am also reassured that our democracy requires many people to make it work. While there are no doubt many people who are hard and vicious, and ignorant, I do believe there are many more who want to see our great country with a goal of opportunity and equality of all and malice toward none to become more of the beacon we envision it as.