John Dewey, one of the most prominent American philosophers of the 20th Century, wrote that “the local is the only universal, and as near an absolute as exists.” National and world politics have their place, but focusing too much attention on these can do more to divide us than to bring us together. Dewey knew that it is in the day-to-day work of simply living together with our neighbors talking with each other, making decisions, solving problems that real democracy happens.
So in the spirit of John Dewey, here are eight goals that I believe we can rally around and work toward, no matter who winds up in the White House:
1) A rich and diverse local economy with employment available to all who want it.
2) Schools that inspire, engage, and empower our children to share their gifts with others.
3) Absolute commitment to racial justice, cultural expression, and individual dignity.
4) Strong multi-generational connections with a special commitment to children and elders.
5) Respect for our dependence on the land, water, air, and natural environment where we live, and a commitment to preserving these for generations to come.
6) Policies and practices that regularly bring us together for work, play, fellowship, and celebration.
7) Structures that provide a forum for voice, dialogue, collaboration, and everyday democracy.
8) Children who are happy, adults who are proud, elders who are wise, and people with disabilities who are included.
It’s weird – when I look at what is happening in our nation, it is easy to feel helpless and depressed, but when I talk with my neighbor about something that is important to both of us, I feel connected and productive. Things actually get done! As crazy and unmanageable as the world may seem sometimes, it turns out that democracy is right here under our noses..