Feeling Too Down to Rise Up: NYTimes Op-Ed

This NYTimes Op-Ed, by SUDHIR VENKATISH, delivers a thought-provoking chain of arguments linking together economic recession, anger, rebellion, and apathy. Read the Op-Ed here.

The texture of discontent (or lack thereof) can say a lot about a nation, and that Americans today are less likely to rebel may not be an entirely positive sign.

It certainly doesn’t mean we have more love, patience or tolerance for one another. Indeed, it may mean just the opposite, that we tend not to trust one another and that we are more alienated from our neighbors than ever before. The lack of direct action could signal the weakening of a social contract that keeps people meaningfully invested in the fate of our country — which may, in turn, be hindering our ability to resolve this crisis.

I mostly agree with the author’s argument. But I wonder: Can an experience behind an idea shared between the majority become more powerful than “traditional” rebellion and violence?  What would that transcendental idea be?

Venkatesh is right to say less violence doesn’t mean more love, but neither does less violent rebellion necessarily mean more apathy.  Economic recession makes life harder for most, and while more people may become upset,  will more people also turn their individual necessity into a collective wealth of invention?

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