For all the anger in our political culture today, it is not rage that most threatens the legitimacy of our democracy. Rage is healthy even when it is ugly. It forces reckoning. You can respond to rage, whether it comes from the left or right or the disenfranchised unaligned, with a call to action: Don’t get mad; get power. What’s far more threatening than rage is cynicism. Cynicism is self-confirming and self-fulfilling. Distrust of others and of our institutions spreads rapidly because it gives other people—gives you—permission to be unworthy of trust. Cynicism denies the possibility of remedy or the need for responsibility. Worst of all, it blinds us to this central truth: We can evolve. We have evolved. We are still evolving.
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