krista tippett on reknitting the fabric of common life

ok. last thought from krista tippett’s interview on longform (thought 1 and thought 2).

around 50 minutes she said that we need to reknit the fabric of common life. that we have to figure out what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century. this is actually a new task and even the best president we could possibly have can’t do it for us. this is a task for us, as individuals and groups, to figure out. it won’t look like it did in 1950. it won’t even look like it did in 1990. we have to figure out what it looks like to be together and make decisions in our current context.

im totally with her although i’d add one thing to her thinking. and it’s the acknowledgment that we, as a country, have never actually had a complete idea of what it means to be citizen. our citizenship ideal has always skewed toward the cultural power center of america’s founders: straight, white, wealthy, married, christian men. so, yes, we do have to figure out what it means to be 21st century citizens… but this time for all of us. i guess that means i’d change her thought from “reknitting” to “knitting for the first time.”

this, i think, will mean that being a “citizen” will look dramatically different from the 1950 or even 1990 ideals (as she mentioned). but we will actually need new institutions, new societal norms, and more in order to include everyone. this means we have to stop pretending that reforming the government as it stands is going to get us there. the current structures were built to work for america’s founders and they actually will not function for a broader group of people (i.e. non-white people couldn’t engage, non-men couldn’t engage, etc.) some parts of the old structures we may save and re-purpose, but we actually need new stuff.

so let’s get building.

and thanks, krista, for the inspiration.

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