Democracy is about power, the people’s power as it is reflected in their lives, their actions and their government. But that power depends on people’s ability to accomplish the following tasks:
This belief is in the personal conviction and dedication to acquiring and using the power in democracy, in the understanding of how it works and trust in the need for democracy if people are to acquire such power. It is in each citizen’s willingness to learn about, embody and utilize that power by first finding one or more aspects of their lives they want to be powerful in and then utilizing the power democratically to make a difference in whatever areas and concerns they have chosen to utilize their power. For example, a citizen might decide that climate change is the area she wants to be powerful in and that she wants to get involved in making democracy work to solve the problems of climate change. With this perspective in mind, she will use the many ways to build her democratic power and throughout the year utilize that power in solving the problems of climate change.
Ownership is about being responsible for the power in democracy. It is in knowing how democracy works and ensuring that it works well. It is in the responsibility to ensure the trust, equality, and unity of the American people is sufficient to ensure that the democracy can work for all the people. For example, equality is essential to a healthy, well-functioning democracy. Without it, democracy disappears. So, an effective owner of a democracy will work to ensure that every citizen in the United States experiences the equality needed to make democracy work for all the people regardless of economic, legal, physical, ideological, spiritual or any other differences.
- Community engagement
Community engagement is about working together to make the power work for each member of the community. People who act alone have little if any power in a democracy, that is why the motto of the USA is e pluribus unum (out of many one). Our power is in our capacity to make community, which includes connection building, cooperation, compromise and collaboration. For example, citizens who act together to solve the problem of climate change will have vastly more power than a single citizen acting alone.
- Coalition building
Coalition building is about many communities coming together as one united body to direct the people’s government to act on the will of the people. It is in essence a community of communities. An example would be communities in different state dedicated to solving the problem of climate change working together in one body to fashion and build a solution they all can get behind and then all work together to direct their local, state and federal governments to adopt and enforce.
- Government connection
Government connection is about both the people of the America connecting to their particular representatives as well as all the representatives connecting to all their constituents. This can only be accomplished when each representative’s constituents form communities such that they can communicate their needs and demand feedback from their representatives. Representatives have too many thousands of constituents to adequately communicate with all of them, therefore it is essential for people to act in community with one another if they are to have a voice in what their representatives accomplish for them. It is also incumbent on each representative to ensure that all the members of the communities they serve know that their communications have been received, how they have been understood and a detailed idea of what is needed to address their concerns, solve their problems and tackle their issues.
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This project has currently five components
- Schools Democracy Learning – This part of the project will provide schools with a curriculum to develop each student’s learning and personal practices involved with their belief in and ownership of democracy as well as how to participate in communities that grow, develop and engage all community members as they utilize the power in democracy to realize shared community purpose and achieve community goals.
- Community Democracy Building – This part of the project will be involved in the use of activities that involve the community members to reinforce and expand on the belief and learning needed to build the most engaged community and effective democracy possible.
- Local Government Involvement – This part of the project will be involved in supporting local governments as they establish, build upon and strengthen the many components and practices needed for a strong and effective democratic response in engaged communities.
- Organizational Coalition Building – This part of the project will use religious, social support groups and other congregations, organizations, associations and clubs dedicated to building a healthy society through coalitions that focus on social injustice and other social problems which could include racial justice, environmental justice, gender justice, economic justice, and other important issues and causes. This project would involve sharing socially relevant goals to build coalitions and the democratic power to do the work needed to accomplish the goals relevant to the organizations involved.
- Civic Saturday – Using gatherings to explore the motivating and spiritual factors involved in democracy and to find and use the power that people have when they can act together in a democracy.