I am sure, if you have gone to even one protest in your life, that you know the chant: "This is what democracy looks like." That is  pretty much it, over and over. We are in the street, banging on water jugs, and this is what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like. 

I hate it because we can't simply chant about democracy and have one that is actually good for people. I, of course, dislike chanting in general though, seeing it as a rather loud and mindless way to spend time I could have used having a conversation where I and another person were given the opportunity to grow together. But I digress. Sort of.

A society can be democratic and unjust, if you believe  in the concept of justice anyway, and/or cruel and/or hypocritical. We can be democratic and be a whole host of other things.

There is a logical fallacy  called The Appeal to Popularity, wherein one claims that a position is true because many people believe it to be true. Many people can be quite wrong, about  facts, and about morality, especially when they do not speak to one another and are, in fact, many people who are totally alone in their thoughts. 

Democracy isn't the goal of our work, as far as I am concerned, though it may  be a pretty good partial strategy. The goal is goodness, morality: a way of living together that is humane. And goodness, morality and humanity are  realities we build with other people and to do that we have to do something much  harder than march, or gripe (or say classist things about Stupid Rednecks), or chant, or even petition -- as miserable an activity as that is -- we have to talk with each other. We have to inform and be informed about the reality of the other and oneself.

I would like to suggest that a  good response to North Carolina may well not be a snarky reiteration of the rights of the individual -- which damn if we don't have down to such a degree that we don't even know who our neighbor is anymore, as we say all the time, chantlike, to whomever our choir is; and isn't that the problem here, organized insularness? -- but a greater movement toward community. In the strategy of democracy this may be our best option. Inclusive community starts with me and you.

Jen Patterson
05/09/2012 11:43am

The NC problem distresses me. I'm having a bad day. Thanks for writing the blog entry, Windy.

I agree that democracy and justice are not synonymous. Democracy can be a vehicle for justice, though, right? What other strategies and tactics can we use to truly be good and humane and to spread that vibe throughout our community? What interpersonal systems can we put into play to help make our communities more just?

I agree that people aren't in the habit of having conversations. We talk to and at each other, but do we talk with each other? When we ask questions, do we truly consider answers? How do we have a true dialogue or mental communion with another person? What practical actions can we take to build more inclusive community? Our culture is so me/I oriented. How can we change it?

05/09/2012 12:04pm

Let's have a little tea get-together thing with a few of us to talk about it. Surely, between us, we can support each other in finding the answers that we need.

I can offer my place up. How is Sunday afternoon for you?


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