Divided We Fall

article image

Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is an Emmy
Award-winning composer, NY Times best-selling author and noted
philanthropist. Currently, he is releasing socially-conscious music and
touring his “Concert & Conversation” series in support of his book
Life Is What You Make It

Here’s another one from Mark Twain’s “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes” department. Take a look at the map below. I saw maps similar to this posted on various websites after the 2012 presidential election and I think it’s fascinating:

We all know that we live in a divided country along various ideological lines. But this map illustrates just how consistently divided we are. I’m certainly not suggesting that today’s Republicans are supporters of slavery! But this map clearly illustrates that some fundamental thing or things have not changed very much. What’s the story?

For the answer to that, I’m asking for your help. I don’t think there’s a simple answer. And, I think more importantly, there’s not an easy solution. When politicians talk about getting the country “back on track,” what does that mean? When did we go off the rails? And is it one track or multiple tracks? Is it really possible to unite a country that’s been divided since the Civil War; a country that only seems to come together when we have an obvious common enemy? (I say “obvious” because I believe there is a common “enemy” in our midst that many of us fail to recognize.)

A few observations:
• The country was and is an extraordinary experiment. When it was formed, the concept of a Nation-State was new. Nations of laws governing large landmasses and large groups of people was new. Free market capitalism on the scale it was adopted was new. And myriad outgrowths of this experiment–public education, for instance–were all new.

• For thousands and thousands of years, this is not how societies organized themselves. There were versions of parts of all these things. But nothing in scope or scale of the United States of America. My feeling is that this experiment is far from over. And this particular iteration of the experiment is one of many.

• I’m hoping–as I’ve said in the past–that change will come through a natural evolutionary process. I don’t think we need revolt. But change will come. The future is far from a static march towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

• There needs to be radical thinking regarding how people organize themselves in community. And the thing to remember is that much of what we came from will serve us well in the future. For instance, many consumers are recognizing the value of eating organically grown vegetables. Our grandparents didn’t have a name for that other than “food.”

I have hoped that this blog would spur thoughts that will help lead us to a future where we see commonality in a shared humanity instead of arbitrary lines on a map that show us who’s “with us and against us.” 

Please write your thoughts or post links to ideas that might give us a roadmap to the future.

I’ll start with one I found interesting:

and another:

What do you think? Share your story at changeourstory.com. Visit www.peterbuffett.comto learn more and Change Our Story to
join the conversation on how we all can become active participants in shaping
our future.

Image courtesy of Mod-n-Pop Studio, Dan’l Linehan.

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.