Perspectives

David Brooks, NYT Columnist, Explores the Grassroots for Trust & Connection


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“New York Times” columnist and PBS NewsHour and NPR commentator David Brooks is searching for the heart, soul and future of America by traveling to smaller communities examining how they are successfully addressing issues.
In March 2018, Brooks was appointed Executive Director of “Weave: The Social Fabric Project” sponsored by the Aspen Institute. The project is searching for local initiatives that build trust, connection and relationships among local groups with sometimes disparate backgrounds and political leanings.
Recently, he spent a day in Appalachian Ohio and talked with local residents about their success in building the local economy and sense of community.
Brooks feels that nationally we are in a period of heightened distrust, extreme partisanship and a blurring of truth and facts. He fears that this angst keeps getting worse and he does not seeing it turn around on the federal level.
“We are lost in a valley of our hostilities and resentments,” he says.
However, on many local levels across the country, he is seeing a civic revolution led by local people with ideas for building community regardless of political affiliations.
On the federal level, Brooks notes a “lack of empathy” but in towns across the country, he is noting a movement he calls “radical mutuality.” That means an increase in social trust, improved human relationships and displaying human decency toward one another.
He thinks journalistically that we pay way too much attention to President Donald Trump and his statements and tweets. He also thinks that too often journalists are in ideological silos.
Instead, Brooks wants to use some of his journalistic influence to shine the national spotlight on local groups across America who are achieving positive goals for their communities and working across political and socio-economic lines.
Brooks says that human cooperation and relationship building can solve problems and improve a community’s way of life. He feels those efforts should be highlighted, nurtured and encouraged.