Posted by Charles II on January 17, 2014
Robert Koehler, Buzzflash:
“It’s because these days Americans have as much familiarity with democracy as they do with homesteading on the frontier,” Arun Gupta wrote last week at Alternet. I think he’s on to something.
“Our lives are bereft of democracy,” he went on. “Virtually all schools are authoritarian, as are churches. Families teeter between parental authority and youthful insubordination. . . . Say ‘workplace democracy’ to anyone at the office and blank stares is the best reaction you can hope for.”
“Democracy” as no more than a political system is rote and mechanistic, consisting of elections, term limits, checks and balances. It’s an impediment to power, easily gamed, a nuisance to be worked around rather than a profound set of values at our social core. In this compromised system, such values — respect, empathy, compassion, equality — have the depth of a press release. At this point in our political history, they’ve degenerated into a joke. The only real value holding the system in place is a reverence for money.
A democracy movement has quietly taken root in this country and around the planet, and it’s growing.
He calls this movement “restorative justice.” I think I’d quibble over that. I think it’s “taking life seriously.” Our leaders since LBJ haven’t believed that what they did really mattered. They have done things for themselves and their cronies, not for the nation.
But, yes, unless we are guided by a sense of justice, even if we take life seriously, what we do is likely to be unkind.
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