What could better look like?

    February 20, 2020

    One thing leads to another.

    -Judge J. Edward Lumbard

    America is not some finished work or failed project but an ongoing experiment.

    If parts of the machine are broken, then the responsibility of citizens is to fix the machine, not throw it away.

    Our imperfections can, and out to, draw us together in humility, realism, patience, and determination.

    No one has a monopoly on wisdom or is free from error. Everyone benefits from understanding other points of view.

    The foundational virtue of democracy is trust, not trust in one’s own rectitude or opinion, but rust in the capacity of collective deliberation to move us forward.

    To often we define our real national challenges–climate change, immigration, health care, guns–in a way that guarantees division into warring camps.

    Instead we should be asking one another: What could “better” look like?

    Our Founders thought in centuries.

    Abraham Lincoln warned that the greater danger to the nation came from within. All the armies of the world could not crush us, he maintained, but we could still “die by suicide.”

    -James Mattis, a former secretary of defense who served for more than four decades as a Marine infantry officer.

    George Washington:

    “Sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.”

    If we want our democracy to succeed, indeed, if we want the idea of democracy to regain respect in an age when dissatisfaction with democracies is rising, we’ll need to understand the many ways in which today’s [various] platforms create conditions that may be hostile to democracy’s success. And then we’ll have to take decisive action to improve.

    -Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt and technoethicist Tobias Rose-Stockwell


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