Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's New Year's Day 1969, Go!

This past Thursday I attended a fascinating workshop at the Conference on World Affairs. The workshop was called, "1968 and the Death of Aspirational Politics" and included 3 panelists--Terry McNally, Sanho Tree, and Joe Wilson.

For a long time, I've felt that the United States is facing a crisis of ideation--we seem to lack the ability to imagine a world at peace, to come up with innovative solutions to the vexing problems we face. This workshop helped put this crisis of ideation in context. The panelist argued that the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy dramatically reshaped America and helped contribute to the small minded politics we see today. To their credit the panelists also proposed ways to return to an aspiration politics.

Inspired by the workshop, I want to propose an ideation exercise. Perhaps better questions will lead to better politics? Here goes:
It's New Year's day 1969. Both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. are alive. Bobby Kennedy has been elected President in a landslide. What happens next? What policies emerge? What does America look like after 8 years of a Bobby Kennedy administration? Then what does the world look like after 8 years of a Martin Luther King, Jr. administration?
Please post your ideas in the comments. The best idea will be featured in a future blog post.

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