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Reply #38: Americans are isolated from one another [View All]

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 06:33 PM
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38. Americans are isolated from one another
and even when they talk with their co-workers, it's usually (in my experience) about what was on TV last night or how the local sports teams are doing.

In societies where people live, work, and shop in the same small neighborhoods and live there for generations, it's easy to organize. For one thing, everyone knows whom to trust. Everyone is used to sitting around in taverns and coffee houses discussing current events. If a respected member of the community decides that there needs to be a protest, people tend to follow along.

That's why you get mass protests in France, Italy, Poland, the Middle East, and other places that have a long-standing culture of hanging out with the neighbors in public places. Even though Japan is much less civic minded, the old public baths used to serve as the organizing points for neighborhood activism.

Contrast this with the American situation. It's no coincidence that the labor movement reached the height of its influence in the days of ethnic neighborhoods growing up around factories.

Now what do we have? The shopping mall surrounded by subdivisions of houses where no one is home all day. The fundamentalist megachurches have taken advantage of the loss of community and hurried to create their own closed society, where people can be brainwashed into a right-wing political agenda and an anti-scientific attitude.

If I were a Dem strategist in the suburbs, I would organize social communities by precinct, inviting all the registered Dems to meet somewhere for pizza or a picnic. Once the social group was established, activities could be expanded to include education, participation in political activism, and outreach to unaffiliated neighbors.
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