An interesting segment on this past Sunday’s edition of CBS Sunday Morning focuses on the movement in Northern California and Colorado for succession from their state. In September the Modoc County Board of Supervisors voted to leave the State of California. 66% of residents polled in a neighboring county are supportive of their Board making a similar move. This Tuesday, voters in 11 counties in Northern Colorado will vote on a resolution letting their County Commissioners explore breaking away from the State. Of course this is not the first time such movements occurred in the U.S., although the first since 1941. Where this will actually go, of course, is a very open question: “Peter out”; gain strength, become an on-going narrative in the political discourse?
One lens through which to ponder this is the question: “What are the consequences for a segmented society that is increasingly inter-connected both physically (i.e. mixing populations) and through social media?” The dynamics in play here are the values and economic interests of rural America reacting to the growing influence of the populations in the big cities. The positions conservatives push back against are what they experience as imposed liberal values. In the case of Colorado, liberalization of marijuana laws, gay marriage, and gun control laws are mentioned by a supporter as are economic interests.
It should be said that this broad classification is grossly over simplified. For example, not all residents in either rural or urban communities agree. Also, super imposed on the rural–urban divide are economic divisions driving power structures (the 1% percent narrative for example). So called news networks (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.) further divide society even as the inter-connectedness intensifies between segments at the macro-level of self-interests between parties.
As segmented societies become increasingly inter-connected, there are global consequences. While substantial critical differences exist, conflicts in the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Asia as well as parts of South America reflect the impact of intensifying connections.
What are the learning challenges as we confront a world in which paradox and change are the new normal?