Convergence

Happy July 4

See you again on July 17

Photo by Richard Asinof

The promise of summer provides all of us an opportunity to refocus our energy on the quality of life in Rhode Island -- as well as time to engage with our friends, neighbors and colleagues in earnest conversations, where we are both listeners as well as sharers.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 6/26/17

PROVIDENCE – ConvergenceRI will be taking a break for the first two weeks in July, in concert with a long observed Rhode Island tradition. The newsletter will resume publication on Monday, July 17.

The first two weeks in July were once the time when industrial manufacturers shut down, repairing and retooling their boilers, as a Rhode Island labor historian explained it.

That tradition still holds, even as the state’s economy has mostly shifted away from its manufacturing base.

ConvergenceRI will be sharpening the saw, tending to the garden of new ideas, trying out new recipes, tuning in to new conversations, walking, listening, and observing more.

There is also the long-observed tradition of celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks and parades and family gatherings, a celebration rooted in the rebellion against the tyranny of a British king, in the self-evident truths that all men [and women] are equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In 1776, news of the Declaration of Independence, which redefined the social contract between the government and the consent of the governed, was first shared in printed broadsides and then read aloud in public gatherings, including to General George Washington’s troops in New York City. The document was then reprinted in newspapers in the 13 colonies. It was not printed in British newspapers until more than a month later.

Today, 241 years later, in the digital world we live in, the news is a constantly flowing, instantaneous source of filtered information, entertainment and advertising, far removed from conversations in the public square. Amidst all the noise, self-evident truths are much harder to identify or to recognize in the slipstream of competing narratives.

We are also confronted with a looming Constitutional crisis about the separation of powers between the judiciary, legislative and presidential branches of government, investigating the potential abuse of power and obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, all related to the documented attempts by Russia to subvert our electoral democratic process. This is not “fake” news; nor is it a witch-hunt. In the coming months, the nation will be sorely tested, just as it was during the Nixon presidency.

That said, ConvergenceRI continues to thrive and gain traction in the marketplace, despite the difficulties in swimming upstream against the current of homogenized media, employing a disruptive business model that urges subscribers to share the newsletter across their networks. Collaboration is hard work; sharing is harder.

There are still many rivers to cross, but the continued positive feedback and support is gratifying. Thank you to all the early adopters – and thank you to all the recent adherents. Thank you to everyone who has supported the efforts of ConvergenceRI. Thank you also to A Lively Experiment and Steve Klamkin for inviting me to be a guest on their shows. See you again on July 17.

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