By Dr. Denise R. Ames
This is a momentous time that we are experiencing. Who can be trusted for wise council? Where are the elders? Elders have something to add to the conversation about what is going on today. I am one elder who feels I have something to say. The following is the last of the 12 Insights that I have learned and want to share with you.
It seems as though a lifetime has flashed by in the first 8 months of 2020, and it is not over yet! I don’t think anyone will be sad to say good-bye to this year.
The question is what have we learned so far about the year 2020? I will highlight a few of my takeaways; they are not in a particular order.
1. A Thin Veneer between Order and Chaos
I recently watched a segment on a news program about a woman and her husband who owned a thriving bar/restaurant in Minneapolis. With her voice chocking, she recalled the shock and anguish of discovering that rioters burnt her business to the ground after George Floyd’s death. She stood helplessly by as her hopes and dreams literally went up in smoke. She does not plan to rebuild.
Another riveting example of the thin veneer is the recent Chicago looting spree along the “Magnificent Mile,” a high-end shopping district in downtown. In a matter of hours, caravans of looters descended on targeted areas and systematically plucked clean stores ranging from ma and pa grocers to Saks Fifth Avenue. The police made 100 arrests but were outnumbered in the melee.
The flip from order to chaos is surprisingly quick. We take for granted an orderly society, in which we can rely on safety and carrying out our everyday lives. The year 2020 has proven that this safety is not a guarantee.
2. Looters and Rioters
We seem to have trouble with defining groups of people since the killing of George Floyd. For several months the term protester was used rather loosely. Now it is clear that the sentiment behind protesting George Floyd’s death has no bearing on actions by violent groups today. I think it is safe to say that rioters are those who are intent on bringing down our system of government and economy. They appear to be largely white (not all) leftist groups, called Antifa by those on the right but largely unnamed by those on the left. I don’t know their numbers, but the mayhem and destruction they are fostering—especially in Seattle, Portland, and New York—is significant.
Rioters, on the other hand, do not seem to be politically minded, merely opportunist. They see this as a time of weakness, and strike. The latest looting epidemic in Chicago was the most recent example. The looting coupled with the ramifications of the coronavirus shutdown appears to place undue stress upon a very shaky economic foundation. The rioters, in my estimation, are also severely harming the good will generated from the George Floyd protests and the overdue examination of racism in American society.
Also, strangely, the looters and rioters are helping each other. I don’t think it is a planned cooperative effort, but the more chaos let loose by the looters, the rioters are able to make greater inroads into their goal of fomenting a revolution.
3. The Coronavirus Pandemic
This unprecedented health pandemic has wrought uncertainty, despair, and anxiety through the entire world. The squabbling over different responses to the virus, is troubling as well. Like everything else in 2020, it has turned political, hampering common-sense solutions on both sides.
About the Author: Dr. Denise R. Ames
Dr. Ames’ varied life experiences— teaching, scholarly research, personal 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, and lifelong learners. In 2003, Dr. Ames founded the educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness that develops globally-focused books and educational resources for grade 9-university. She has written eight books, plus numerous blogs, lesson plans, articles, newsletters, teaching units, and conducted professional development workshops for the non-profit and its clients.
Dr. Ames is now developing her new program: Turn, Transformation, Understanding, and Reflection Nexus. Turn encourages life-long learners to see things with new eyes, learn from the past, and understand the relationship of all things. She teaches workshops/classes and writes about Turn’s five topics: learning from the past, cross-cultural awareness, five colliding worldviews, elder wisdom, and transformative travel.
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.
Divided is one of nine books written by Dr. Ames and the Center for Global Awareness, check out their offerings! Global Awareness Books