American society is stridently divided. There are those whose primary identities and loyalties are centered on communities which share their values -- ethnic, religious and political. Their dedications tend to be parochial and local. By contrast, many Americans profess broader loyalties. They are committed to others not of their own group and who are different from themselves - to minorities, and to strangers as well as those beyond their family and who hold to similar values.
In his address, Joe explores different ways of framing American identity as we look toward the future. Joe focuses on the values of cosmopolitanism, which requires a global outlook but does discount the more immediate loyalties of family, neighborhood and to those like oneself. Joe proposes that cosmopolitanism promotes a vision which may enable us to get beyond the polarization which characterizes and plagues American society at this perilous moment.