There’s been a lot of talk lately about tribalism and how people across the United States and all over the world are breaking off into tribal groups, preparing for some kind of battle to come. Today we discuss what I think MY tribe is, and then “tribal” thinking with Integral Theorist Jeff Salzman of the DailyEvolver.com
Thanks as always to Jeff Salzman for joining me for the Integral Chat. You can find much more of Jeff www.DailyEvolver.com.
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My Tribe, the tribe I belong to, want to belong to, the tribe I want to be proud of me, and will fight to keep alive… is not the Democrats, not the Republicans, not the libertarians or the Greens… I belong to the Tribe of “Let’s do better next time.”
My tribe is capable of great and horrible things. My tribe is wrong sometimes, but my tribe is brave. My tribe is not afraid… not of outsiders, not of the future. My tribe knows that it doesn’t know all the answers. But my tribe is willing to experiment, to learn, to change, and try for the best future we can imagine.
My tribe are the ones who started this country as a place where all people are equal in the eyes of God, despite the fact that at the time all people were certainly not equal under the law. My tribe are the people who set that goal down in writing as the foundational document of a new nation, to be protected, and to be watered like a seed until it could grow into a mighty tree. My tribe are people like Thomas Jefferson, imperfect but trying to improve, to evolve and to lead by example – a man who owned slaves in a world where all of his peers owned slaves… but who helped set the stage for a time… as it turned out less than 50 years after his death, when slaves would be freed and the practice stamped out. I’m talking about a practice as old as civilization itself, embedded into the new world at it’s inception hundreds of years before Jefferson was even born. It was sown into the fabric of society itself.
But it changed. We did that. My tribe, of men, women who couldn’t vote, black men and women who broke their chains… through failure and death and war and blood, through moments of weakness and of strength… the facts were horrible… the dreams were beautiful… and regardless of where the tribes stood… it changed. My tribe, the tribe I belong to, want to always belong to, and want to be proud of me… my tribe – filled with men, women, rich, poor, free and enslaved… made that happen.
My tribe… not perfect, often wrong, capable of great and horrible things, but always trying to be better.
My father was a member of my tribe. He was a life long republican. He was a civil servant. He was a honest man. And he was a war hero. I mean that literally. At 19 he left college to pilot a B-24 in WW2. He received medals, members of his crew came to his funeral decades later to tell his children how much they loved and admired him, and how he had saved their lives in combat when, in the process of being shot down over occupied Belgium, he skillfully crash-landing their plane – the notoriously difficult to maneuver B-24 Liberator, still fully loaded with it’s payload of bombs, without blowing them all up.
My father made sacrifices. Not the least of which, perhaps the most of which… my father killed for us… his tribe. His tribe was Jefferson’s experiment. His tribe was a people who governed themselves… no king, no dictator, no pope… only themselves. Sometimes wrong, sometimes right, always brave and willing to try. And to fight. Even among each other. My father flew 44 missions over Nazi Germany in the fall and winter of 1944. If you know World War 2 history, you might know what that means. This was the hammer… this was the rage of the Free West against the insurgency of fascism and racism that didn’t want to come along to the future we were trying to build. That was trying to stop us from ever reaching it. This was the “this must never happen again fury” that led, one year later and half the earth away to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But in Germany, it was conventional, overwhelming force. And my father at age 19.
Like a lot of veterans, my father never talked about his time in the war. But I’ve seen the flight logs from his missions. There were cities. Mainz, Hamburg… there were civilians. Most likely many, many of them. Members of a tribe. Complicit in horrific actions… but civilians. My tribe, the tribe of my father, put them under the hammer. And we struck, and struck, and struck… until the other tribe, the fascists, and the complicit fascists, couldn’t get up again.
That’s what my tribe is capable of. Right or Wrong, my tribe doesn’t like bullies, and when pushed hard enough, we will fight them until they can’t get up.
My tribe are the ones who built and struggle to maintain a system designed to let us all live together. The system that often doesn’t work the way we want it to. The system that lets everyone participate, including the ones who want to bend the system to their favor, or see the system destroyed altogether.
My tribe is the one that allowed Trump to happen, yet still works tirelessly to resist authoritarianism, government by fiat and the whim of one man…
My tribe are civil servants and professionals who do their best to serve. Teachers, Soldiers, Government workers, Cops, bankers, builders, marketers, inventors, social workers, atheletes and artists… My tribe is the one with the state AG’s who successfully sued the federal government to stop the religious litmus test travel ban 4 times. And who lost the fifth fight but are preparing the next lawsuit even now, with intelligence, compassion, skill, and justice on their side.
My tribe doesn’t care what you look like, who you love, or where you came from. We used to… sure… where we were all white, we cared that you were brown, where we were brown we cared that you were white, but things change. And when people are not afraid of change, they can come together. Tribes can grow larger. Today, my tribe is actually most of us, all people who are willing to learn and willing to change to get better.
My tribe are the people who leave the water in the desert. My tribe are the ones who film the man as he pours it out on the ground. So that his actions will be seen. So that every tribe can take note, to see where they stand, and what they defend. To think about which tribe they really want to belong to.
My tribe welcomes all newcomers who have the courage to admit mistakes, to change, because those are people who are trying to be better. My tribe admits mistakes and moves on, because we know that the world is always moving on and it won’t wait for us. That’s all my tribe wants. It’s what we value most of all. The impulse to do better next time.