Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Santa Rosa Junto

Why the Junto? There has been a serious breakdown of communication in our society. There's a lack of constructive debate needed to solve problems; consequently we've become polarized. Political discourse has degenerated into snubbing, fighting and insulting. Traditional political solutions, such as exercising our voting rights, have only left us with a government that's more dysfunctional and less responsive to our needs than ever. 

Political correctness has had the effect of sterilizing our communication with each other, so that often people are afraid to freely express themselves for fear of reprisal, e.g. loss of a job, social status, or of being ostracized. Conversations in general have become less interesting, varied and colorful.

Even with our advanced technology we seem to be drawing further away from each other. Many people communicate with their smartphones or on social media outlets like Facebook or Snapchat instead of communication with someone face-to-face or in person.

The Junto may be one solution to our communication problems.

Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, created the Junto, or the "Leather Apron Club" to bring tradesmen and artisans together for their mutual benefit. They debated topics of morality, philosophy and politics and discussed business matters. It was also a charitable organization that created a subscription public library and promoted the concept of a public hospital. The Junto was perhaps the earliest version in this country of service groups and associations like the Rotary Club.

The Santa Rosa Junto in Santa Rosa, Ca has much in common with Ben Franklin's original Junto. Like that Junto, our goals are to improve communication and help each other. We'll also discuss moral and philosophical matters, but there will be more of an emphasis on political matters. Topics involving spirituality will also be discussed. And by helping each other, we can strengthen our communities. Working together at the community level, rather than individually, will empower us to have more influence in matters of public policy that will benefit many more of us and result in a fairer society.

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