Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 4

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide.  See the divide play out in your life as well!

The Ethos of Progress

Even though I was in the throes of helping my daughter and son-in-law care for premature twins  just home from the hospital, I continued to think about the fierce divisions in this country that have intensified over the decades. In between diaper changes, I contemplated the divisions that had always simmered between different constituencies in the U.S.

4.1 progress vs. preservation

Progress vs. Preservation

But despite differences, the key uniting story that has knitted this country together is the ethos of progress. We could all get ahead economically if we worked hard and played by the rules.

This ethos has worked in the United States since its founding. Americans needed this guiding purpose to conquer the frontier, vanquish native people, and build the concrete jungle that is our current way of life.

02 American Progress, John Gast

American Progress by John Gast

We did so without thought of the consequences or our own well-being, let alone the environmental consequence. In fact, Americans have found this ethos is so wonderful that we have exported it around the world to some who have eagerly embraced, while others have been more skeptical.

This ethos of progress is enticing but dangerous, since the chances of it continuing unabated is slim. Also, the meaning of progress has been changing, especially among rural/urban, college/non-college educated, white/people of color, and religious/non-religious citizenry. Yet, our political leaders (on right and left) continued to preach the same ethos, but it was not resonating with a large chuck of voters.

12.3 white identityTrump was able to speak to the disaffected voters, the white, rural, working class, and non-college educated voters in ways the college-educated citizenry were unable to understand. Instead, they wrote him off as ignorant, racist, misogynist, homophobic, and other judgmental attacks that fed into more divisiveness. The spiral of anger, distrust, and misunderstanding entered a whole more divisive level.

About the Author:

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

wviewscoverPlease email or visit for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95


This entry was posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, perspectives, populism, Uncategorized, worldviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s