John Zogby’s final meta-movement (that I have been writing about the last few posts) is authenticity in views and ways of life. Oh boy does this hit home when you talk about Italy! Its long history and ancient towns are the essence of authentic.
Here is the bottom line: It is hard to be authentic when you live in an inauthentic place. Suburbia, where most of America lives, is neither urban nor rural. It is a confused cross between the two. Suburbia sprang up as people fled cities which had become dirty, unsafe, unpleasant places. The car enabled us to move out, and the ideal was the “country.” Suburban communities leapfrogged each other so that country was lost as was urbanity.
What Italy does, what our trips do, are put people in touch with a truly authentic place. In this real environment our participants find their authentic selves, and, I would argue, it provides the springboard for reaching for authentic places and lives at home. If Zogby is right about a demand for authenticity, and I believe he is, then Italy is a teacher, enabling us to recognize the authentic at home.
I find these meta-movements encouraging. We are maturing as a country and people. We are recognizing our role as world citizens, and taking our place as co-equals with everyone else. In this equality we understand we have as much to learn as teach. And Italy is one place from which we can learn.
I have one more post to compose on Zogby.