David Brooks says that he’s not taking Donald Trump’s march to the nomination lying down. He confesses that he has spent too much time inside bourgeois circles, talking to people like himself, and hasn’t spent enough time out with the kind of people who respond to Trump’s message. A lot of people don’t like David Brooks (I am not one of them; I’m very fond of him), but you have to give the man credit: it’s very hard to find another prominent columnist at his level who will admit he was wrong, especially in that way, and who vows to get out of his office and into the country to see what’s going on.
Anyway, this part of the column is especially interesting:
We’ll also need to rebuild the sense that we’re all in this together. The author R. R. Reno has argued that what we’re really facing these days is a “crisis of solidarity.” Many people, as the writers David and Amber Lapp note, feel pervasively betrayed: by for-profit job-training outfits that left them awash in debt, by spouses and stepparents, by people who collect federal benefits but don’t work. They’ve stopped even expecting loyalty from their employers. The big flashing lights say: NO TRUST. That leads to an everyone-out-for-himself mentality and Trump’s politics of suspicion. We’ll need a communitarianism.
Maybe the task is to build a ladder of hope. People across America have been falling through the cracks. Their children are adrift. Trump, to his credit, made them visible. We can start at the personal level just by hearing them talk.
Then at the community level we can listen to those already helping. James Fallows had a story in The Atlantic recently noting that while we’re dysfunctional at the national level you see local renaissances dotted across the country. Fallows went around asking, “Who makes this town go?” and found local patriots creating radical schools, arts festivals, public-private partnerships that give, say, high school dropouts computer skills.
Then solidarity can be rekindled nationally. Over the course of American history, national projects like the railroad legislation, the W.P.A. and the NASA project have bound this diverse nation. Of course, such projects can happen again — maybe though a national service program, or something else.
He may be right. I hope he’s right. This has implications, obviously, for the Benedict Option.
As I see it, the Ben Op is, as someone here put it the other day, a form of “Christian localism,” one that would inspire exactly the kind of thing Brooks is talking about here. One gives up much hope of changing the country, and focus on what good one can do locally. As I will never tire of saying, the best example I have yet encountered is the Tipiloschi, the lay Catholics in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, who built a community school that also serves kids outside their own community, who reach out to local kids who are falling through the cracks and helps them, and who even launched a solidarity
Via:: American Conservative
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