At the fundamental level, the Capitol break-in teaches us …

A most fundamental lesson for Americans from the events in Washington, DC this January is that we should not delude ourselves into believing that systems such as our own simply operate on auto-pilot and function to protect society and its structure, irrespective of how members of that society behave.

Our democracy was never going to protect us from a failure of the citizenry to work together.

Indeed history is rife with examples of social systems falling apart because their participants allowed themselves to devolve into conflict.

Our liberal democracy, our four houses of government, our separation of powers, our Bill of Rights, our federalism/states rights, none of that keeps the nation together — and its citizenry protected and thriving — if we don’t continually attend to the social interaction fundamentals necessary to maintain group cohesion.

That is the only thing that keeps a people together.

So we can certainly ask, “Did that person do something wrong to violate our social compact?” I’m in favor of prosecuting that inquiry. But it is more important to at a higher level ask, “Are we all doing what we need to be doing to ensure our social compact is maintained?”

We need to invest at least as much energy in how we successfully work together as we have in how we’ve (un)successfully opposed one another.

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Thoughts from across the aisle...

“The odds are good [America will achieve reconciliation], but the work is hard.”

— Peter T. Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education, Columbia University

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