To me, it feels like there’s some kind of inflection point being reached, but I base this on not much more than my own subjective, albeit at least somewhat informed experience.
The obviously important recent SCOTUS decisions are out there of course, but we have multiple justices over age 80, going into a presidential election with a big potential for a backlash, leading to a potential for appointments that could reverse a lot of positive progress.
We had a huge financial meltdown and now 6+ years later a lot more of the general public is well aware that real justice has yet to be served to many of those responsible. Some of the changes we’re seeing may be a result of this.
Some Evangelicals are aligning more and more with liberals and progressives on protecting the Earth and the environment, and are deeply concerned about limiting the impending damage that will be caused by climate change.
And we have generational changes in social norms coming to a head around the world, at a time when mass communication over most of the globe has never been more accessible, in spite of corporate and government attempts to control or curtail it—at least so far.
Look at how many videos are going online all over the country and the world, of police misconduct, racism, and brutally. That this is happening is far from new. That neither the media nor many governments can really control who knows about it is new. The information has been becoming more available for decades, but the visceral reality in these videos has only been widely visible for the last few years.
In Arthur C. Clarke’s world of 2010, wars between nations ended after the abolition of long distance phone charges, which led to many average people having friends all over the world. You can’t attack a country filled with so many people that are loved by your own citizens—that was the thinking. While it’s not working out in quite the way that Clarke envisioned, there is still huge potential in making information from primary sources available globally, at massive scale, and for such little cost.
At the same time the Internet has also led some (many perhaps) into isolated enclaves—information deserts (borrowing from the idea of food deserts in American urban areas), where the only ideas that flow freely are the ones that a clique agrees with, along with a few refrains that they abhor and can use as foils and straw men, to “argue” about how wrong or even evil the other side is.
I for one am cautiously optimistic.
Ps. This post is in response to an online discussion about a Kevin Garcia piece on bedlammag.com.