The First Step in Resolving Pain and Division

My latest essay on Dust in the Light is a reflection on how we can begin to come together to find a better way forward for our society.

However it began, the closing point of the video is unambiguous: Marchers have been marching, protesting injustice for generations, and they keep finding themselves in the same place. The exhortation to the young-adult generation: “Putting yourself in harm’s way is not the way… Come up with a better way.”

There arises the problem. What is “the better way”? Click around any social media platform, and you’ll find different enclaves where conflicting solutions are promoted as if they’re obvious. In the thread of replies to the video above, it doesn’t take long for “universal healthcare” to appear as a solution. I’d offer that particular ideology as the problem, as a constituent part of the way that has led us to this point of division.

In the enclaves where I feel most agreement, people frequently point out that American cities have largely been governed by a single party for generations, and that this party is determined to increase the power and engagement of government, and that the police toward whom so much of this aggression is directed are the community-level manifestation of a more-powerful and more-engaged government. Indeed, one could say they are the working-stiffs only trying (and, because they’re human, often erring) to implement the rules created by the politicians who are even now exploiting this disharmony for their own aggrandizement.

But the specifics of that disagreement are a topic for another day — or rather, for many, many other days. The burning question with which we have to start is how do we begin to create the conditions for the better dialogue that can help us sort through the lunacy of life in a fallen world and thereby move toward the needed better way?

Click over for some attempt at an answer.


Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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