Welcome to the first official issue of The Public Sphere. We have titled this issue “Global Responsibility.” After a summer of Olympics in China, hurricanes in the Caribbean, snide repartee between Vladimir Putin and Dick Cheney, and the official start of the presidential election campaigns, it is time to reflect on what it means to be responsible in our actions towards the world. While every piece may focus on something more local, each piece still queries something we may have taken for granted about politics, religion, culture, and media. Valerie Bailey reflects on the Sarah Palin as archetype within conservative evangelical Christian subculture. John Cochran‘s essay discusses how one manages the climate crisis through a transformation of consciousness. David Dault examines the dissolution of medical ethics in the midst of the U.S. healthcare crisis. Jacqueline Hidalgo‘s photo essay presents images of U.S. religious life found along the road side when traveling from California to New York, while Marc Lombardo diagnoses the disease of U.S. democracy. Sourena Mohammadi‘s photo essay excavates the complex relationships between martyrdom and culture in Iran, and Paloma Ramirez remains indignant over New York City’s attempt to control her eating habits. Finally, Katy Scrogin asks us to reconsider if economic growth can really measure the health of U.S. society.
Individual authors may disagree with each other’s positions in this magazine-a dissonance that we believe is central to conversation in the public sphere. We invite you to read our queries of public life, and then to respond with your own thoughts.