Happy 2024! I’ll start with a hopeful message… a toast to you all:
In the new year, let us cultivate the better angels of our nature and see ourselves in others as we strive for health and peace for humanity and the planet that sustains us!
I always approach life with optimism because fear and cynicism are the root cause of most of humanity’s problems. However, I am not entering 2024 with my eyes closed. As a nation and a planet, we are facing some very serious threats. Wars, nationalism, environmental peril, and efforts to dismantle democracy are all staring us down. The question is whether we will tackle these issues through the lens of fear and tribalism or with hope and a belief in universal humanity and cooperation. In my New Year’s Day post a year ago, I talked about the issue of algorithms promoting echo chambers and confirmation bias leading to major polarization and disinformation. I said, “As we enter 2023, I’m concerned about how many people are able to live in a digitally curated alternate reality”. The problem persists and may be even worse as we enter 2024. My biggest concern for the future is whether democracy will survive and function as a system guided by the will of the people. Tribalism seems to be leading many people away from support for democracy and toward autocracy, which means a state governed by one person with absolute power. History shows that absolute power is always corrupt. No society has achieved equality, but democracy is the only system to further the goals of equality and give the power to the people to decide how the government acts in their interest and for the overall good of society. Democracy has counter-measures to weed out corruption… if the measures are enforced. Democracy is fragile and requires participation, safeguards, and ethical vigilance. Anyone who attacks democracy clearly fears they have not won the war of ideas or support of the people. Let’s consider what is truly at stake with democracy itself in 2024 because any issues we’d like to see solved, and this is true across the political spectrum, will require a fair and functional democracy. Autocracy or democracy? This is the year we have to decide. Thanks for caring!