Mandate for Democracy
Our group has studied and discussed democracy since 2006. This month we have been working together to create a Mandate that addresses how democracy should function that will continue to be updated over time. It includes essential democratic principles and how those principles should be enacted in our politics and lives. We will be seeking ongoing input from the public, so this is an opportunity for everyone to be directly involved in democracy in a real way.
As far as we know, there has been no other effort in recent times to state the guiding principles of democracy that includes input from numerous individuals. Our intent is to create a living document that expresses an understanding of how democracy should function by those who compose and sign it that includes continual revision as our understanding evolves.
Examples of situations that have enhanced or altered our views of how democracy should function include the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and the recent world-wide pandemic.
Everyone can review the Mandate on our Web site and sign it, or suggest changes and then choose to sign or not. They can remove their signatures if they believe that ongoing changes no longer reflect the true function of democracy as they see it.
Most often the energy and comments of those who want to reform democracy are focused on what is wrong, but rarely has a statement included the direction that democracy should take. Criticism is easy — we all do it — but finding common ground for a direction forward is much harder. That is why we are so polarized — we know what we don’t want and who to blame but rarely focus on the clarifying the direction in which we want our democracy to go. The Mandate is a forward-looking document that describes the essential vision of democracy and how we can move toward enacting that vision.
How does the process work?
Please review the Mandate for Democracy at thefutureofdemocracy.net/mandate.html. Using the form at the bottom of that page, state that you would like to support it and/or suggest changes that you would like to see which more clearly express your idea about how democracy should function. Our committee, which consists of long-standing members of our group, will consider your changes and let you know if they are accepted. If you want to sign, indicate your name, where you live, and your vocation.
What is our intent in creating the Mandate for Democracy?
When people who live in democracies express their views of how their governments and citizens should combine efforts toward a common vision — rather than only stating what they see as wrong — the more likely that democracy will move in the direction of being “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” as expressed by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address. As more people back this idea it can begin to end the polarization we see all around us that threatens the continuation of democracy as we know it.
Another purpose of the Mandate is to provide clear principles to guide us as we consider which candidates and propositions we are going to support.
If you believe in democracy — a word coined by the ancient Athenians for “rule by the people” — then join our effort to clarify its direction. After you have done that, let others know that you support the Mandate and why.
Our Mandate for Democracy is available for your review here.
Ballot-box photo by Element5 Digital via Unsplash.com.
Your comments and thoughts always are welcome. Also, don’t forget to look at our blog site: renewingdemocracy.org
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Visit our Books page for information about purchasing The Future of Democracy, The Death of Democracy, Truth and Democracy, and Guide to Living In a Democracy.
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Steve Zolno is the author of the book The Future of Democracy and several related titles. He graduated from Shimer College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences and holds a Master’s in Educational Psychology from Sonoma State University. He is a Management and Educational Consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been conducting seminars on democracy since 2006.