What do Anand Giridharadas, Marianne Williamson, Chris Hedges, Jimmy Dore, Richard Wolff, Thomas Frank and dozens of others have in common? They see what the masses cannot and they dare to challenge the status quo.

These collective voices articulate what many of us see, but are not able to express. These thinkers are our hope for the future.

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This paragraph sums up what the end of apartheid in South Africa felt like for me growing up there :

And on matters of race and identity, likewise, the Trump era doesn't have the crackle of a launch. It has been a mourning. A mourning for white power. A mourning for a time when simply to be white and show up was enough. A mourning for an era in which simply to be a man, and not necessarily an especially capable one, could get you ahead of other people. A mourning for a time when you could be the default idea of an American and not have to share your toys.

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I’ve always viewed the far-right’s anger at “their country being taken from them” as the rationale they use to explain corporate capture of our country.

It’s a lot easier to blame a minority group than to understand that their economic status in life has diminished because of Citizens United.

And you can blame politicians, think tanks and the media for feeding them these false narratives.

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I think you might have written this post in a moment of raw pain - which I truly understand. I find the portrayal of the US as the true nation of immigrants reads bit like American Exceptionalism in the 21st century.

There ARE other immigrant societies in this world even if the US is certainly special. Canada, for example, is a country of immigration which suffers from systemic racism too but is far from the truly poisoned and polarised situation in the United States. There are places in the Global South that are truly multicultural and inclusive, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia in general.

My point is that the world is changing in the ways you describe as unique to the United States. As a Desi living in Germany, I can say that, while Europe is not going to be as welcoming to immigration as the new world is, it is growing diverse and changing fundamentally causing frictions and promising change. And the EU is a body politic which is in its totality, an incredibly diverse society - different languages, different customs, different attitudes and yet it acts together (imperfectly but it does). It is a remarkable democratic experiment.

So while I sympathise with what your country is going through, and indeed I do share more than 90% of your analysis, I would caution from becoming too exceptionalist about America. Progressives around the world need to be working on common causes.

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There are so many nascent forces, socially, technologically. While the expert is exhilarated by an accelerating change, more and more are being left behind, unable to grasp this emergent future. They recur then to comforting myth. For those raised within the hierarchy of patriarchy, of racism, of religious fundamentalism, the undoing of their world is traumatic.

We need to point everyone towards a future we would all want to live in, intentionally. Biden's going big is crucial from a civic point of view. As with FDR, he needs to employ en masse to avert fascism. We need to speak as a nation daily as to how we are confronting our multiple crises. Only a sense of common purpose will save us. A new Civilian Conservation Corps / National Recovery Act is what's called for, one providing jobs in every district.

Theres a burning passion to continue the American Experiment, to believe again in human progress, however fitful.

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You had me with you until the end - the way to defeat white supremacists is not to "fight tooth and nail" but to carry on with creating the life that you want to live, just the way that you are Anand. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and Pierre Elliott Trudeau have shown the way - with a change in the white house there will be more investment in public education and that is key. Canada's multiculturalism policy provides a vision of acceptance and respect for difference and that vision is lived from pre-school through higher education. Every child's talents need to be nurtured - our communities need those talents. The ignorant frustrations of white supremacists will implode upon themselves as legislators and law enforcement officers respond to the will of the majority of the people. The Black Lives Matter movement has already made a difference in a peaceful way.

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This piece resonates with me on so many levels, gives voice to so many of my thoughts, emotions and hopes as a first gen Indian American. Thank you for sharing this on MLK’s birthday—so timely and powerful.

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This essay is so moving. I hope your perspective is right. Although I am your neighbour (in Canada) I so wish this for you.

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This testimony, this grasp of the impossible possible, this awareness of the necessity for us to join together as never before to become more true to our collective, ultimate Truth - this country of ours with its vibrant stew of seemingly final differences sent a tremor through my Being. Revivifying this heart for a realization of relationship towards collective wholeness having been gifted with the terrible consciousness of our nation's shadow seen as never ever before. Which gives us choice. Out of the shadow itself, can emerge the new life that's wanting to be lived.Thank you Anand for what also feels like a prayer, that so intimate communion within with one's soul and spirit. Muchisimas gracias.

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Well said. One slight shift in perspective I might add is this: we ARE the powerful people. We're defining the future and have been for a long time. Just look at the views of younger Americans. That's the terrain on which the battle of ideas is won or lost in the long run--and those of us who believe in the new American dream you describe have been winning on that terrain since the aughts. It's just that change of this magnitude takes a LONG time, and there's still an incredible amount of work ahead. But that work will feel a little easier if the fear we've all felt lately can be tempered by excitement about what's to come.

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Wonderfully said. America there is hope, just look at our example in Australia and our neighbours across the Tasman, New Zealand. We’ve been living this dream for many years now. I’m a 58 year old man, first generation Australian of Italian migrant parents. The racist Australia I experienced growing up is all but gone, sure there are still pockets but on the whole multiculturalism and a more equal society has prevailed. We were told back then this was an experiment and what a wonderful one at that.

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Gracias brother, for reminding me that darkness always precedes light.

U2 - 13 (There is a Light)

There is a light

We can't always see

If there is a world

We can't always be

If there is a dark

That we shouldn't doubt

And there is a light

Don't let it go out

I was talking with our 14 year old son last night, explaining what great opportunity lies ahead for him.

Energy, decentralized finance, new designs, medicine, it’s all so exciting.

“Tear down the wall” will happen. Our country will become color blind. It’ll be righteous and beautiful.

Just gotta keep “Truckin’”

peace and love,

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As I was watching the attack on the capital, the image of a snake biting its own tail kept coming to mind, and when I googled the idea to see if there was a precedent for it - because there must be someone who described this wild phenomenon some where in the past! - I came across the concept of the ouroboros. It’s the end and - to my surprise- the beginning of things. It’s a cycle of death and rebirth that everything must submit to in some way throughout its life. It’s the cycle of reincarnation, it’s the Karmetic cycle, and it even God himself said that he is the Alph and the Omega - the beginning and the end. So we are observing His handiwork as he exists outside of nations, working with us, through us, and in spite of us to help us ALL to see that Love is the only law that this world was made to be ruled by. And that gave me tremendous hope: we are slowly being remade into a new humanity. 2020 was the year of clear vision for most of us, and deep delusion for others. As a clear-eyed people, the way we respond to this time of awakening will determine our path forward for years to come. We have to insist on becoming a people governed by Love and Justice or there will be no Peace, and we’ll be doomed to yet another cycle. We’re the generation that has been given the opportunity to cycle up, and we must take it wholeheartedly and work at it with all our might.

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Subscribed on the strength of this smart and hopeful message today (been a reader/follower for some time). I don't know if you're right - I hope you are. And I'd love to see these themes sounded in Biden's Inaugural Address (though I'm afraid they won't be, and the version of rescuing America will continue to try to split the difference between making White people feel OK while trying to reassure everyone else).

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I saw a response to J. Lo’s performance of “This Land is Your Land” at the Inauguration from an indigenous activist, who sang, “This land’s NOT your land, this land was stolen...”. And I am grappling with a whole mess of thoughts in relation to this. On the one hand, I had thought that it was quite striking and meaningful to see that particular song sung by a proud Latina woman, a woman of Puerto Rican ancestry, because she represents a group of people who have historically NOT been allowed to claim to belong to “this land” of America (despite having ancestry in this part of the world that predates white colonialism). And yet, the activist who sung the retort isn’t wrong - this land WAS stolen.

And I keep coming back to this essay here about the incredible ongoing project that is multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic democracy here in America. I want that project to succeed. And yet this experiment of being a “country of the world” is taking place on lands of people who did not consent, did not volunteer; this land was indeed stolen. The awesomeness of what America is trying to be doesn’t erase that what we’re trying to be would not have been possible if not for the colonization of these lands. What we are now, this multicultural democracy, however imperfect, is not what we were then. But what I don’t know is how to think about the path forward, one that reckons honestly with this piece of our history (along with the fact that the ancestors of so many of the people who make this country “multiracial” were brought here as enslaved people) without rejecting the idea of the possibility, and desirability, of a multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic democracy.

Because I think that the countries that are taking a nativist turn (I’m thinking in particular of the U.K. here, with Brexit) are wrong, are making an enormous mistake. And I know there is absolutely no equivalence between British people riling up fears of being “invaded” by people from other cultures, and indigenous activists who point out that their own lands were, in fact, actually invaded and stolen from them.

But the reality today is that there are so many of us who are “people of the world”, not tied to any one particular ancestral land. It’s not like there’s a country other than America that *I* can call home. I’m not Irish, I’m not Scottish, I’m not German (despite having ancestry from all of those places, though I recently learned that some of what my family called German ancestry turns out to be Ashkenazi Jewish). There’s no home for me other than this stolen country. What do I do with that? I want to just keep listening, and to hold space for the idea that even something that seems like incredible progress (a Latina woman singing a song that claims ownership over a land that has historically excluded her) is also fraught, because we have yet to truly reckon with the colonization that made our present possible. And I want to hold firm in resisting the idea that multicultural, multiracial, multi-ethnic societies are undesirable, while not resisting the truth that this particular one (as Anand says, the only really extant one) has grown on lands that were stolen. Could it have been otherwise? I don’t know. But given that it wasn’t otherwise, how do we build this incredible future while righting those past wrongs? CAN we ever right the wrong that made this land the land where the American experiment is taking place?

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I hope this is an accurate transcription. "The future is like heaven-everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now." James Baldwin.

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