(cristiano corsini cc BY-NC-SA)

“Governments are local. Democracy is global”

I posted a Letter from Iceland yesterday, telling a bit about the pro-democracy movement breaking out in Iceland just now. In the course of that letter, I asked people to stand with the people of Iceland, and help the movement—including through donations.

My friend Bruce Skarin flagged a concern about this kind of activism. Wasn’t this foreign involvement in local elections?

It’s a good question, and one I’ve thought a ton about since coming here. First, to be clear, it’s legal: the non-profit running this campaign is free to take contributions from anyone anywhere—including the US.

Ok but should it be legal? Or putting aside the law, is it right?

I think we need to develop a more global democratic sense. That’s the argument within my favorite quote from the ad telling the story about this movement:

Governments are local. Democracy is global.

That statement means that democrats anywhere should be willing to stand with a people when their will is being denied. That’s not to say we should intervene to press the democratic will in one direction or another. I don’t think it appropriate to intervene in a country’s politics to get a more right wing or a more left wing or a more geek wing government into power. But I do believe we need to work the muscle of democracy internationally, by standing with a people when their government is ignoring their democratic will.

That is the story here: In 2012, more than 2/3ds of those voting said they wanted their Parliament to enact a new constitution based on the draft that had been crowdsourced by a citizens council. Four years later, Parliament has still not honored that demand.

That’s a reason for democrats everywhere to watch what’s happening here. And in my view, that is reason enough for democrats anywhere to help the people of Iceland ask its Parliament: Can you hear us yet? #CanYouHearUS.IS

If you can help, thanks. If you share, even better:

And this one with the line: “You know that democracy thing that we loaned you? Do you think we can get that back?”