A Divided Country: Rising Expectations, pt. 1

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

I remember reading Charles Dickens’ historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities, in my high school English class many years ago. 02.1 Tale of Two CitiesThis memorable quote opens the book: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

At the time, I wondered how all of these different emotions could be expressed at the same time. Now I realize that we are expressing many different emotions all simultaneously—anger, fear, hope, despair, concern, love, and hate. These emotions are not necessarily rational responses to events but bubble up from our deep core of being to burst forth.

Our country was built on a myth: “Work hard, play by the rules and you can achieve the American Dream,” I bought into this myth. I worked hard very hard. As baby boomers, my husband and I built and sold six houses in our early years of marriage, along with our other jobs. It was physically demanding work but we were able to accrue a nice nest egg from our endeavors.

I taught my Gen-X children the same values. They had challenging jobs as teenagers like cleaning the lard barrel at Hardees, “walking beans” to get weeds out on hot summer days, babysitting for long stretches, and cleaning houses.

02.2 walking beans

“walking beans”

My children grew up expecting they would achieve the same lifestyle level as I had, but from their experiences they knew it would take dedicated effort and a college education. They learned to be resilient adults. They were able to overcome setback, adversity, and figuring things out on their own. The lessons have stuck with them.

But from my readings and observations, I am learning that Millennials and Gen Z have different expectations about the future. As I see it, they are expecting a similar lifestyle but somehow missing the connection between working hard and achieving rewards. Because of the implications of the American Dream, the current generation assumes that they can have a similar lifestyle as their parents. But the question is how to acquire these expectations without the often boring and repetitive hard work. They have figured out a way.

Along comes the political philosophy of democratic socialism. The politicians promise 02.3 potato chip factorythat the government can provide many of the life’s comforts with little effort from recipients. Free college education, reimbursement of student loan debt, free health care, well-paying and secure jobs, subsidized day care, and a host of other goodies. I remember toiling for a long, hot summer at a potato chip factory to earn enough to pay my tuition and expenses for a year of college. With a little help from my parents, and low-cost tuition, I saved enough money to pay the costs, with lots of grueling over-time and Saturday work. I had some “skin” in the game, I wasn’t going to blow it.

I will continue to blog about the cultural divide in our country in March. My forthcoming 01.4 Dividedbook—Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them—describes the cultural divide primarily in the U.S. through the lens of five worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. Ideas from the blogs are explained in the book as well.

About the Author

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and 01.3 Turn imagereflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

 

 

 

 

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Are We Nearing a Tipping Point? Seeing the World through Corona Eyes, pt. 1

01.2 DeniseHave we reached a social tipping point? As a result of the coronavirus, will fundamental change sweep through our nation and way of life? Join me as I write a 7 part series about a tipping point!

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

In just a short time, we are seeing our old way of life shattering before our eyes. Our jobs, social connections, business, and mobile lifestyle have come to an abrupt halt. It may have seemed novel at first, a welcome change of pace from our hectic, fuel-injected way of life, but the full effects of this seclusion and fear is becoming more apparent. We are not accustomed to this different way of life.

1.1 restaurantTo many of us, those things that seemed important before—the latest fashion purchase, eating at a trendy new restaurant, or flying across the country to visit a new place—suddenly seem a part of a different life that existed a long time ago, before the corona virus. Now time is measured before the corona virus and after. After, is what I am reflecting on in this blog series.

Although we are justifiably concerned at the moment with details, such as the number of masks available for each hospital or the number of ventilators available in each state, I would like to step back a moment to speculate on what this deadly disease can possibly 1.2 ventillatormean to us individually and our global society at large. If the virus continues for the next year and into 2021, as is projected in some scenarios, its ramifications may be beyond what we expect.

As a world historian, I am intrigued by change over time. I ask the question why do societies change from one way of life to another. What sparks this change? Perhaps one answer is to create a “better” way of life, but that is probably a stock answer from our particular worldview. I believe that now is the time for world historians to offer their plausible assessments, based on events of the past, on what may, I stress may, happen. Could the coronavirus spark us to change our way of life, in ways we never anticipated?

Part 2 of this 7-part series continues on Friday, August 10.

About the Author

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and01.3 Turn image reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!

04.4 DividedDivided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

$14.95, 258 pgs.
Order on CGA’s website or Amazona

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The Economic Impact: Seeing the World through Corona Eyes

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

5.3 corona eyesWhat does the corona virus mean to you and your way of life?  Join me as I write a series of posts about our new reality: we are now seeing the world through corona eyes.

Continuing from the previous blog, I am reflecting on the economic impact of the corona virus on our lives. Our consumerist mindset is under-girded8.1 consumerism by an intricate network of ways to satisfy our wants and desires through material objects, such as the latest fashions, cars, houses, and unique life experiences like exotic vacations, sports, or status-seeking hobbies. Consumerism is so pervasive and enmeshed in our culture that we unconsciously go through the rituals of honoring it without reflecting on its effects.

When the act of consumerism ends, as has partially happened with the lock down prompted by the corona virus, it has sparked a pause in our consumerist daily life. This pause may trigger a time for reflection about the priorities necessitated by the demands of a consumer way of life.

8.2I have conflicting views about a consumerist based economy. Although I see it as destructive in many ways to human well-being and the environmental costs are tremendous, it is so entangled within our society that it would not be easy to change to a non-consumerist way of life. The disruptions would be tremendous.

The global economy is hanging on for dear life as the corona virus batters it from every possible angle. Even though we are in a recession now, the federal government is doing its very best to stave off a severe recession or even a depression from occurring by pumping frightening large sums of money, over $2 trillion, into the economy. Will it work or will we have collapse?

8.3Economically, what is our current situation? I have found that most people expect this disease to end eventually and everyone will return to their way of life pre-corona. We have not reached an economic tipping point where there is no going back to our previous way of life. Instead, we hang in a waiting game. Unsure about what the future holds. Our way of life hangs in the balance.

01.2 DeniseAbout the Author

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

01.3 Turn imageDr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

04.4 DividedDivided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

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A Possible Tipping Point: Seeing the World through Corona Eyes

01.2 DeniseBy Dr. Denise R. Ames

As I launch my new book, Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them, I am reflecting on seeing the world through “corona eyes”  Despite the coronavirus, the cultural divide is still with us. What does it mean for you and your way of life?

As a world historian, I am intrigued by change over time. So intrigued by it that I have written (Waves of Global Change) and taught about change over time for01.1 Waves of Global Change, 2nd ed. cover many years. I have asked the question, “Why do societies change from one systematic formation to another?” What sparks this change? Perhaps one answer is to create a “better” way of life, but that is probably a stock answer from our particular worldview today in the U.S.

Usually there is a tipping point to spark sudden change, such as environmental catastrophe (volcano, earthquake, flood, etc.), humans overtaxing environmental resources, or disease. Today, we are looking at disease as the push towards a possible tipping point.

But when change occurs suddenly, usually only one or two patterns change and they all do not change at once. In order to have a smooth functioning society all the patterns need to be in sync, operating in a holistic fashion in which one pattern reinforces another. The economic pattern, for example, reinforces the social pattern and so on. But this usually takes time for all the patterns to get in sync and function smoothly. In the meantime, tension, conflict, and even chaos may ensue.

7.1I see the economy today as the main driver of our way of life. The economic pattern significantly influences all the other patterns—social, political, religious, moral/ethical, social, psychological, and the way we treat the environment. It guides and informs us in our quests for making meaning of our world. Since 70% of the U.S. economy is propped up by consumerism, there is an intricate and far-reaching system for strengthening our consumerist mindset.

5.3 corona eyesJoin me as a I continue this blog series, Friday, April 1. We are now seeing the world through corona eyes.  We are all struggling with our new way of life.

I wish all of you well.

About the Author

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

04.4 Divided

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

 

 

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Shattering the Old: Seeing the World through Corona Eyes, pt. 2

01.2 DeniseI am writing a series of posts about our new reality: we are seeing the world through coronavirus eyes.

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

In just a few weeks’ time, our old way of life is shattering before our eyes. Our jobs, social connections, and mobile lifestyle have come to an abrupt halt. It may at first seem novel and a welcome change of pace, but the full effect of this seclusion and fear is beginning to become more apparent.

Those things that seemed important before—the latest fashion purchase, eating at a trendy new restaurant, or flying across the country to visit a new place—suddenly seem a part of a different life that existed a long time ago. Yet, it was just two weeks ago that I and four other relatives struggled to make the decision to cancel our annual get-together, this time in Savannah, Georgia. I was just beginning to see things through corona eyes, and it wasn’t fun.

6.1Our economy is based on consumerism, and the effects of consumerism spills over into our everyday life. We are told, in mostly subtle ways, to consume products to give our life meaning and define who we are.

In November 2019, I saw this first hand as I shopped for a new car, since my 20-year-old Subaru Forester finally gave out. As I scouted out dealership lots and “kicked the tires” of new cars, I unconsciously found myself searching for the car that most precisely defined who I was. I was following the dictates of consumerism! I didn’t buy a racy, svelte sports car, or the latest luxury model, I ended up with a VW Tiguan, a reliable, comfortable, sturdy, practical car with a great extended warranty (also a dynamite moonroof). But the car reflects who I am!6.2 Tiguan

Now that consumerism is on hold, or perhaps forever altered by our corona experiences, and many of our jobs have been lost, reduced, or switched to on-line, what is giving us meaning. Consumerism and career have been the big two for many years. Perhaps, many people are struggling with this drastic alteration in their psychic well-being. I know I am reassessing a few things!

__________________________________________________________________________

Today’s reality is seeing the world through corona eyes. We are all struggling with our new way of life. Follow me in this series of posts.

The coronavirus is upending our lives and overturning our daily routines. It has appeared so suddenly into the human world that we are unsure about how to deal with it. Dealing with the coronavirus is a rapid and far-reaching change. It also affects the way we look at the world.

04.4 DividedAs I launch my book Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them for publication, I find that we are not seeing the coronavirus through one lens but continue to see it through our own particular worldview lens. Hence, I find it interesting and useful to write in a series of posts about our response to the deadly virus through the five different worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative.

To solve this health crisis, and save as many lives as possible, all the worldviews need to be recognized. They are all vital in guiding us through this most devastating crisis since World War II. I talk about a tipping point in my book that can shift us to a different worldview. The coronavirus may prove to be that tipping point. My hope is that the tip will be to the transformative worldview but the future is uncertain.

Whatever our worldview, one thing is clear, we are all in this together. I wish all of you well.  Denise

About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released!
$14.95, 258 pgs.

04.4 DividedDivided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

 

 

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Seeing the World through Corona Eyes: Reflections on the Coronavirus

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

The coronavirus is a deadly disease that is spreading havoc through the human world. It 05.1 coronavirusis upending our lives and overturning our daily routines. It has appeared so suddenly into the human world that we are unsure about how to deal with it. Dealing with the coronavirus is such a rapid and far-reaching change that it is overwhelming to us. It also affects the way we look at the world.

We are now seeing the world through corona eyes.  We are all struggling with our new way of life.

As I launch my book Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them for publication, I find it necessary to make a few comments about the deadly virus spreading across the United States and the world.04.4 Divided

Releasing a new nonfiction book for publication at the start of such an earth-shattering event is probably not the best timing. I thought about shelving the whole project, but then I had second thoughts. I find that the book and its theme of seeing our way of life through five worldviews is very relevant to what is going on today!

We have been polarized as a nation for many years, especially since the 2016 election. Even how the coronavirus is being managed reflects a particular worldview: traditionalists emphasize the business or religious side, progressives stress the average person, globalists promote the global economy, and transformers say look at it holistically.

To solve this health crisis, and save as many lives as possible, all the worldviews need to be recognized. They are all vital in guiding us through this most devastating crisis since 5.2 tipping pointWorld War II. I talk about a tipping point in my book that can shift us to a different worldview. The coronavirus may prove to be that tipping point. My hope is that the tip will be to the transformative worldview.

Perhaps, on a pessimistic note, the transformative worldview will not take hold, instead, a darker and more brutal worldview will emerge that brings out the more competitive and vicious side of humanity. The future is unknown.

Whatever our worldview, one thing is clear, we are all in this together. Everyone is vulnerable, a kind of equalizing mechanism. My hope is that the coronavirus will bring out the best in humankind, in which we are kind, thoughtful, and reasonable. Also, I hope we are grateful that we live in a time when our government (city, state, and federal), whether we agree with their worldview or not, has the resources available to put an end to this deadly scourge.

5.3 corona eyesI will be adding reflections on seeing the world through “corona eyes” as I blog about my new book. As we can see with the current stalemate in Congress over the $1.7 trillion bill to aid our country impacted by the coronavirus, the cultural divide is still with us.

I wish all of you well.

 

About the Author

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift01.3 Turn image perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

 

 

04.4 Divided

Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them has just been released! $14.95, 258 pgs.

Divided addresses the question on the lips of every American: why can’t we get along? The cultural divide is threatening our democracy and destabilizing our country. Divided looks at the deep cultural divide through the lens of five colliding worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. This approach helps us make sense of our deep divisions and suggests ways of bridging them.

It is urgent that we understand and bridge the cultural divide. Bridging the divide is dependent upon first understanding it. Gaining an understanding of the five worldviews enhances our success of arriving at sensible solutions and increasing civil conversations. If not, rancor and intractability ensue.

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Family Disintegration: A Divided Country

01.2 DeniseBy Dr. Denise R. Ames

There is growing uncertainty in a rapidly changing world. One of the factors contributing to a divided country and sense of dissatisfaction is family disintegration.

Many of our stable structures of the past that gave us a grounded mooring to living and 04.1 extended familyacting in the world have become untethered and we are drifting about. The extended family, an institution that was both stultifying and stabilizing has virtually disappeared from American life. I can sing the praises of an extended family; I was raised in close proximity to my extended family and it provided a sense of grounding and security in my early years.

The nuclear family flourished in the early post-war years, but the factors contributing to its success started falling away by the 1970s. The nuclear family offers a reduction of the services that the extended family provides: financial stability, child care, thinking of others instead of just individualism, emotional support, help with household duties, and many more.

As David Brooks points out in his excellent article “The Nuclear Family was a Mistake,” for Atlantic magazine, the nuclear family has now shriveled or splintered to 04.2nonexistence among most working class, low income families. It survives in a renewed form among the upper middle-class professional families, who can afford services that extended families used to provide, such as child care and helping out in an emergency.

So what has taken the place of the security and support of the family? The answer is nothing as enduring or reliable. Perhaps the trend of identity politics is an example of a way to create an identity around politics but it is very unstable and not emotionally comforting.

This demotion of the family has had far-reaching consequences that have contributed to an increase in the suicide rate, reduction of life expectancy, the opioid crisis, and many 04.3other destabilizing factors. Neither political party has a good grasp on what to do about it, while discussion of solutions often falls in incriminating accusations by both sides.

The right tends to stress individual responsibility, an important factor but not the only one. While the left, calls for more government services to help that also falls short of solving the crisis.

I will be continuing to blog about the cultural divide in our country in March. My 04.4 Dividedforthcoming book—Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them—describes the cultural divide primarily in the U.S. through the lens of five worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. Ideas from the blogs are explained in the book as well.

About the Author

Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

01.3 Turn image

TURN Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all things. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

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A Divided Country: Rising Expectations, pt. 2

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

Individual expectations have exceeded our government’s and society’s willingness or ability to meet them. This has left many people in a social malaise, always wanting more from a beleaguered government.

03.1 Democratic socialismI have observed that the appeal of the political philosophy of democratic socialism is based on the notion of getting something for nothing. The politicians promise that the government can provide many of the life’s comforts with little effort from recipients. Free college education, reimbursement of student loan debt, free health care, well-paying and secure jobs, subsidized day care, and a host of other goodies. Young people I hear interviewed about who they will vote for in the presidential primary overwhelmingly base their vote on getting their student loan debt forgiven, receiving free college tuition, or a possible minimum income.

Free college is quite a benefit. I remember toiling for a long, hot summer at a potato chip factory to earn enough to pay my tuition and expenses for a year of college. With a little02.3 potato chip factory help from my parents, and low-cost tuition, I saved enough money to pay the costs, with lots of grueling over-time and Saturday work. I had some “skin” in the college game, I wasn’t going to blow it.

The disconnect between generous social programs and the money to pay for them is transferred from the individual to the government. Does this seem like a good idea? I am questioning it.

The disconnect between our expectations and reality also play our as far as our social justice movements are concerned. Race relations have been getting better since the Civil Rights movements in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet, true equality has not been achieved, and racism does persist. But as a person who has lived through the movement, I can say 03.3 Civil Rightsrelations have improved a great deal. I remember as a teacher in an all-black school in Jackson, Mississippi in the mid-1970s, black and white teachers had to plan very carefully on where was a safe place to go for an outing together to celebrate the end of the work week. Something unheard of today.

Yet our expectations for more equal race relations have turned into the left using racism as the reason for inequality at every turn. It is the answer to every example of gaps between whites and blacks, from incarceration rates, police shootings, disparate school test results, health outcomes, and the list goes on. We need to look beyond just racism as the stock answer to every social problem affecting the black community.

The disconnect between reality and expectations is an expanding gap turning into a yawning abyss. I have found this is one of the reasons for the growing acceptance of socialism among the under 40 crowd in the U.S. The government is seen as a surrogate parent, able to shield a harsh social reality from innocent and naïve eyes. No need to fear for the future, it will be planned out for you by the government. After all, you are entitled to it. It is not your responsibility, but your right.

I will continue to blog about the cultural divide in our country in March. My forthcoming book—Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them—describes the cultural divide primarily in the U.S. through the lens of five worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative. Ideas from the blogs are explained in the book as well.

About the Author

01.2 DeniseDr. Ames’ varied life experiences—scholarly research, teaching, reflections, and extensive travels—have contributed to her balanced and thoughtful perspectives. Earning a doctorate in world history education, she has taught secondary schools, universities, a community college, professional development trainings, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, developing globally-focused books and educational resources. She has written seven books, blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, and teaching units for the non-profit and clients.

Dr. Ames is now developing a program called Turn—transformative understanding and reflection network—that encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, shift perspectives, and understand the balance in all 01.3 Turn imagethings. She teaches classes and writes about cross-cultural awareness, indigenous wisdom, a transformative worldview, learning from the past, a mythic journey, and transforming travel.

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