I was at a dinner the other night which involved a cross-section of Los Angeles. There were African-Americans, Asians, and white guys like me. In discussions with some I began to pick up a theme. It sounded like people were looking for camaraderie and deeper discussions on what was happening in America and of a structure to perpetuate this kind of interaction.
Until the 60s, it was common for men to have places they could go to for these things. As a wire service reporter, I could see the fraying of communication and the inhibiting of the transfer of information from one generation to another. The situation has finally gotten to the point where more and more younger men want the reassurance that values still matter.
My assumption is that the same concerns are shared by women, although they've always had a readiness to be open with each other which men seem to fear and makes them close up. The farther technology goes, the more people yearn for a serious conversation over coffee.
Our nation needs to have a glue that holds us together. The feeling right after 9/11 was that Americans were reaching out to other Americans. But a few weeks later we were back in our anomic worlds. In societies in other countries there may be less distance between people because of extended families and adherence to tradition.
The yearning is there. I just hope more of us reach out to experience a re-communication.