David Brooks explains why Donald Trump’s attack dog isn’t hunting well amid Covid-19 meltdown. One wonders then, what will come on the heels of flagging Trumpian culture warfare?

Brooks’ New York Times colleague Michelle Goldberg ruminates about big culture shifts paving the way for big, yet-unknown political changes. The grinding scenario she foresees: looming economic depression not seen in America in almost a century.

Goldberg also cites futurist Rhiana Gunn-Wright of the Roosevelt Institute. Like me, she dabbles in paradigm revision. At some point says Gunn-Wright, prevailing beliefs collide with how our world actually works; with however it is coming to be. This calls for a change in conventional thinking; for a change in the prevailing paradigm.

Could this overwhelming moment of pandemic become a moment similar to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Gunn-Wright wonders? If so, contemporary Americans need to reject Trumpian divisiveness and embrace in its place, a unity not seen since 9-11, admonishes David Brooks. In this possibility looms a humanizing that allows us to see ourselves at a deeper level than as political animals alone; at a level of appreciation for the fragility, fears and courage of others.

So, here’s the challenge along with a peroration. It’s a callout in the spirit of our Founding Fathers and in the spirit of moral philosopher Adam Smith. For America to become great again, first we must make American capitalism great again. A refurbished economic paradigm must realign the pursuit of self-interest with attainment of a mutually supportive common good.

Ideological justifications for rigging, gaming and other vulture capitalist schemes must be consigned to the abyss. With eyes focused on the future and those who will dwell there, “self-interest rightly understood” must become the goal. Indeed, this moment of profound crisis can—and should—become America’s moment of sacred stewardship.

~ Jim Sawyer

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