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American Society in Motion – The Ever-Changing Present

Dr.+Robert+%22Bob%22+Brescia+serves+as+the+Executive+Director+of+the+John+Ben+Shepperd+Public+Leadership+Institute+of+The+University+of+Texas+of+the+Permian+Basin.++He+is+a+writer+for+the+blog+of+American+Society+of+Public+Administration.+
Dr. Robert

Dr. Robert "Bob" Brescia serves as the Executive Director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute of The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is a writer for the blog of American Society of Public Administration.

Dr. Robert "Bob" Brescia serves as the Executive Director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute of The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is a writer for the blog of American Society of Public Administration.

Robert Brescia, Guest Columnist/Blogger

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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization or UTPB.

By Robert Brescia
July 21, 2017

The rate of change in American society continues to accelerate. Every new wrinkle of an existing social truism becomes a tear in the social fabric — and these small separations can become large ones in short order. Instead of sealing the rip, we allow these tears to emerge and form new structures. These are rather tenuous linkages between the past and the present and that’s the point of my present writing: flexible and morphable linkages have taken the place of yesterday’s hard social structures. Hard structures of the past, such as police, schools, hospitals, governments, courts and other civic functions have now become the “sandcastles” of today’s society — easier to substantially change in form and function. The relationship between the past and the present has also dramatically changed. We tend to conceptualize our lives and today’s society as more of an ever-changing present. I like historical sociologist Will Durant’s oft-cited phrase, “The present is the past, all ready for action; the past is the present, all unfurled for analysis.”

If you’ve read up to this point, do you suspect I might have spoken heresy about the past and the present? Shouldn’t we just try to recapture some of that good old hard structure which gave us comfort and surety?

Consider these changes in just three of society’s time-honored social structures and functions:

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American Society in Motion – The Ever-Changing Present