What Comes Next for Spiritual Progressives?

America’s political dysfunction is a symptom of a national identity crisis. Americans are drawn to incompatible views of human purpose. I appreciate how Gary Dorrien (writing in both this issue of Tikkun and in The Obama Question) frames the broken mirror of national identity in two panes. In one is yearning for unrestricted liberty to acquire wealth; in the other is yearning for self-government—that is, a desire for rightful power to apply core values in the creation of public policies and practices, including those that pertain to wealth. Not only do large blocs form around these two yearnings, but many individuals seem internally split by the competing desires. They want leadership, but no clarity comes from political or religious leaders. If this crisis goes unsettled for much longer, the system will founder. That fact should cheer no one, for in the present state of affairs, tyranny, not revolution and reconstruction, will follow.