Wounded Democracies

Stephen C. Rose
Nov 27, 2014 · 2 min read

Democratic revolution has yet to be achieved anywhere. http://buff.ly/15D63Sm

The idea that we do not yet have democracy is an invitation to a serious argument. It is the thesis of anyone who looks at the world and sees growing inequality and governments that favor the established over the vulnerable.

The common response which I share is that we will not have better democracy until we have tangible local democracy. This makes sense. But it does not explain why we do not have it. We do not have it because we have built virtually all societies around the world on the premise — an existential one if you will — that we should live according to the level of our wealth.

That wealth trumps even race is evident when one considers that choice in residence is only available to those with enough resources to pay for dwelling outside of whatever ghetto they were condemned to. Race plays a continuing role in the frustration of democracy. The most obvious barrier to choice, the linchpin of democracy, is the financial capacity to do what you want to do.

This economic differential cannot be countered by philanthropic action of any sort and it is a cruel joke that we keep insisting that we can achieve freedoms where choice does not exist in dollars possessed. Indeed philanthropy of all sorts is a sort of lapdog designed to distract us from this simple truth.

In the US we have essentially given up on the idea of integration, accepting the Black middle class which has escaped segregation as a token of unity which is in most respects nonexistent. The sense of impotence in the face of this reality is largely absent in the white community. We pay our taxes and assume that the preference we get is deserved. From any perspective that sees equality as an aspect of democracy, this is a cruel self-deception. We whites are complicit in the knee-jerk system that has made the US the prison capital of the world and African Americans the principle residents of these establishments.

We can move toward democracy only when residence becomes a matter of choice and when our residential choices are based on commonly held values, such as not allowing cars and guns within the space where people live and work and recreate. This probably means that the mall model — malls were private and could make their own rules — should be considered as a suggestion for the formation of integral communities which seek to deal directly with the inequalities that will persist forever if their reasons are not made plain.

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    Stephen C. Rose

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    Everything Comes

    LOVE POWER. Unifying Earth and Heaven