“Did you too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and a party name?” Walt Whitman
Whitman wrote these words in the aftermath of the Civil War in an essay entitled “Democratic Vistas.” Whitman was hoping that from the promise held in becoming a country without the institution of slavery a broader and deeper democracy would emerge in the United States. Whitman knew this would take great commitment from everyone – politicians and citizens alike – to become a reality.
History shows us that Reconstruction led to the Jim Crow and a new form exclusion and discrimination took hold and the hopes of many waned. Democracy again became a “ballot initiative” every four years with a stark silence in between. It would take a great, grassroots movement to overturn Jim Crow and open the door once again for that broader and deeper democracy to emerge.
We are at a similar crossroads again today. Last week we saw the historic election of the first African American President. A president elect who is promising to be the “change we need” and calling on us as a nation to help him “re-build America.” We have an opening yet again to deepen and broaden our own democratic republic.
Let us answer President Elect Obama and continue the ongoing work of democracy. Let us remind him of his campaign promises to the end of the war, provide affordable health care, give aid to homeowners, close Guantanamo, pass effective immigration legislation, create green jobs and the list goes on.
to sign a letter to President Elect Obama encouraging him to bring the troops home and work with the Iraqi people to provide reparations and safe transition. An action to begin the important process of not only recovering what we have lost in the last eight years but also deepening the democracy we will hand on to the next generation. Thanks and Peace Liz