Former President Barack Obama on Thursday warned how the concentrate on tradition wars in an more and more numerous world impacts politics and governance throughout the globe.
In his keynote speech targeted on international politics at The Obama Basis Democracy Discussion board, which got here within the wake of the midterm elections the place so-called cultural points have been debated throughout the nation, Obama stated “certainly one of humanity’s best achievements within the fashionable period has been the popularity” that numerous units of individuals should be represented in authorities, however added that it additionally has led “people who find themselves accustomed to being on the prime of the pecking order … to really feel their standing in society threatened when the prevailing order goes via fast adjustments.”
“We’re going to have to determine the best way to dwell collectively, or we’ll destroy one another,” he stated.
The previous president additionally warned that “escalating polarization and disinformation so evident in current elections” occurred in the US, in addition to Brazil, the Philippines, Italy and Sweden.
“Let me be clear, right here – the risk to democracy doesn’t at all times run alongside a conservative/liberal, left/proper axis. This has nothing to do with conventional partisan strains or coverage preferences. What we’re seeing, what’s being challenged, are the foundational ideas of democracy itself,” Obama stated. “The notion that each one residents have a proper to freely take part in deciding on who governs them; the notion that votes might be counted and the occasion that will get extra votes wins; that losers concede, energy is transferred peacefully, that the winners don’t abuse the equipment of presidency to punish the losers.”
On tradition wars, Obama stated, “these of us thinking about democracy promotion have tried to want away these so-called tradition battle questions. We prefer to concentrate on guidelines and legal guidelines … and we are inclined to see politics and governance as a continuing negotiation between competing, rational, self-interested actors. However that’s not how most of us expertise the world.”
“We could function on the idea of very concrete, materials pursuits … however we additionally care deeply about having a coherent story about who we’re and our place on this planet. We care deeply a couple of sense of id. A way of belonging and a way of standing. A way that our lives imply one thing and have the next function,” Obama stated.
Conflicts round tradition are simply exacerbated by media and the best way folks self-select the form of media they eat, Obama argued.
“On-line media encourages this, because you’re extra prone to click on on to websites and browse messages that reinforce your preconceived notions,” he stated, including that “the people who find themselves most lively on social media are usually probably the most controversial and have a tendency to emphasise their variations with different teams, that’s what will get consideration.”
And politicians, he stated, know that “one of many best methods to win votes is to faucet into folks’s rising sense of hysteria and worry and vertigo, their sense of loss and resentment of change – to inform them that their custom and their values, their very identities, are underneath assault by outsiders.”
He added: “Add all of it up, and also you’ve obtained a recipe for backlash, polarization, and the kinds of poisonous, slash and burn, something goes politics that we’ve seen erupt nearly all over the place. And it’s harmful.”
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