Some Reflections on Five Themes
The New and Changing Role of Government:
Since the pandemic, we have seen a series of financially-distributive government policies, where Washington is not launching new programs but rather releasing funds into the economy through individuals and institutions. We should expect to see this type of government performance moving forward, as Americans are not trusting of a big central government, preferring to see localized leadership and individual control over the use of public monies.
The Emergent Generation:
As with the Depression Generation, we are likely to see a Millennial Generation behave in ways that reflect what they have encountered between living through both the 2008 “Great Recession” and the 2020 “pandemic”. These events will have a profound impact on how they will manage their lives, their economic choices, and cultural preferences!
A Deep Unsettled Political Condition:
As I write elsewhere, we are experiencing the “Fifth Wave of Terror” today, as represented by “Tribal Nationalists” that feel dismissed, marginalized and disconnected from the economic and political stories and benefits of this nation.
An Extraordinary Level of Religious Experimentation:
We are in the midst of one of the most significant moments in religious reinvention and spiritual inquiry since the 1870’s, with the Great Awakening that helped to frame the modern denominational system. With this pandemic, a new wave of creative activism has captured the religious institutional marketplace. Personal search for meaning and connection represents a portion of these emerging expressions.
How Minorities See Themselves and How They Are Seen by the Majority:
First, we should note that “not all minorities” perceive their status in the same way! Second, there is a growing realization that the multicultural, pluralistic model that defined the American body politic for much of the past century is coming undone. In this current vacuum, we are no doubt experiencing a significant rise in ethnic and racial hate crimes, the presence of a deep and widening divide around the role and place of minority cultures and communities within the political mainstream, and the further discounting of ethnic distinctiveness as a social value. As noted above, the emergence of Tribal Nationalists speaks to an effort to reassert “whiteness” as an American value and product. This comes as this nation is experiencing a demographic revolution, with the emergence of a new non-white majority that will be in play by the mid-decades of this century.