Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy

by Parker Palmer

American Democracy is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart. The experiment is endless unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so, also, is the heart’s alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy’s demands.

Today we are in the middle of another election cycle. Once again, false claims, half-truths, hateful rhetoric, fear-mongering and demonization of the opposition dominate our civic space, driving out the genuine issue-oriented debate a democracy needs to survive and thrive. We need citizens with chutzpah and humility to occupy our civic space and call American democracy back to health. There is no reason, at least no good reason, why our number cannot be legion.

Read the full essay here…

Family Separation & Highway Checkpoints Threaten Your Freedom

The Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Warrantless searches are unlawful, always, everywhere.

The Fifth Amendment reads, in part:

nor shall any person… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Detention of any person without due process is an attack on every American’s personal sovereignty.

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Hofstra Debate: Obama wins with facts, passion, leadership

Romney’s ill-informed bullying worries women, shames candidate, his party

In last night’s debate at Hofstra University, Pres. Barack Obama demonstrated why he won more votes than any other candidate in US political history: astonishing comprehensive engagement with a wide range of issues, and the ability to synthesize—to bring together into one coherent, inclusive vision of what is—disparate realms of policy and practice in governing, always with a genuine focus on what is right and dignified about putting the people first.

Mitt Romney, by contrast, demonstrated a callous, petty and aloof, air, motivated by a near total disregard for the rules, for general decorum or for any sense of basic respect for the tragic significance of issues like poverty or war. To what must have been the shock of millions, Romney behaved as if no rules applied to him, and acted as both a rhetorical and physical bully toward the moderator, the President of the United States, and the people who were there to ask questions.

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Let’s Elevate Teachers to Build a Better Future

It is National Teachers Day, a day of recognition for one of the most challenging and under appreciated professions. It is a day to stop for a moment the rush of our daily routines and recognize the degree to which good teaching builds a healthy, vibrant future for our families, our communities, and our democracy.

The Climate

There is a culture war taking place in the policy arena surrounding our education system: mayors and governors are demanding regimens of high-stakes testing, in hopes of revealing the quality of education available, along with reasonable means of improving that quality. Teachers are often seen as obstacles to reform, though they may be the most impassioned advocates for reform, and the minds best positioned to see what is needed.

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