As a small town girl myself, raised to respect and value people, I hear exactly what you’re saying. I learned something last year traveling to the Netherlands. My buddy, whom I’d met in Ecuador some years back, hosted me for five days. During that time, she commented that Americans have this addiction to being able to say “I AM ______”, which identifies us with a tribe. I’m a Floridian, or I’m a conservative, or I’m an animal rights activist, or I’m an African American. This she compared to her culture of “I HAVE an opinion.” You’re expected to have a thoughtful take. So if I AM a Coloradan, and you AREN’T then that allows us to wage war, spew hatred, make accusations, call each other names. The need to be encamped and to belong is understandable but what a difference it might make were we to say, what’s your thinking on this? How did you get there? Help me understand? The seductive I AM leads to the need to be right at all costs. Truthfully, since we all have a take, we are all right, based on our viewpoints. Listening, hearing, sharing, and collaboration to come to a way of being together — which is going to be more crowded like it or not — is going to be essential. It’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be necessary. Democracy may have to evolve, and us with it, in unpredictable ways. What we used to think of as the good life in the future may simply be defined as: “I have enough water.” Whether we like it or not we are going to have to learn to converse all over again no matter where we end up living, and with whom.
By the way, I found this on 7/4 as a draft. My apologies if I never published it at the appropriate time. Here you go.