America needs more cultural federalism.
In a real way, the internet has made culture global. As long as I have wi-fi and a working device, I can concern myself with just about any part of the Earth. In addition to information, this connectivity gives me the chance to make moral judgements about far-flung events as they occur. I tend to do so. And, from what I’ve seen over the last couple years, I’m not alone.
I used to think elevation of public interest beyond the local level was always a great thing. Up to two years ago, I’d have joined guillotine chants for the gossipy parochialism that sometimes characterizes the public sphere in my hometown.
Rhetoric zings from coast to coast at fiber-optic speeds every time crisis or tragedy strikes. That electric explosion goes on to inflame action, which provokes more hot words. And more action. With shocking words or video from any part of the country felt everywhere instantly, no wonder it seems like the whole country hangs in the balance all the time. And with perceived stakes so high, it’s not surprising that battle lines have hardened.