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Politics

Democracy

The Dog-Eared Page

A Politics Of Hope

It is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, and yet still come together as one American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

The Sun Interview

It’s Easier Than We Think

Ralph Nader On How We Can Change Society

But it’s not that hard to turn the country around. Most people, whatever they call themselves — conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive — have a deep sense of fair play and justice. They’re not sadists. They care for other people. We see this during a national disaster. All labels go out the window, and everybody helps rescue people from floods or fires. That’s what we want to tap into. That’s why I say fewer than 1 percent of the people, if they represent a majority opinion, can make a lot of changes. It won’t produce a utopia, but it will certainly produce a better country than we’ve been experiencing.

Quotations

Sunbeams

Freedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be a bragging point that “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.

Bill Maher

The Sun Interview

Undermining Democracy

Noam Chomsky On How The U.S. Breeds Inequality At Home And Instability Abroad

Researchers find in their polls that the attitudes of the poorest 70 percent of Americans have essentially no effect on policy. Those people are disenfranchised. It doesn’t matter what they think. Political leaders just don’t pay any attention to them. As you move up the income scale, you see a little more influence. By the time you get to the top, attitudes and public policy are very similar, because the few at the top are the ones who design the policy. They essentially get what they want. You can’t call that democracy. It’s some kind of plutocracy.

Fiction

Alternate

Before Cat and I became a couple, before we even knew each other, we were a team: knocking on strangers’ doors to bring them Barack Obama’s tidings of hope. Everyone in Brooklyn was already voting for him anyway, so they just cheered us on and thanked us for our service. There was a precoital vibe, a tingling anticipation of victory.

Quotations

Sunbeams

With the people, for the people, by the people — I crack up when I hear it. I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, because that’s what really happens.

Fannie Lou Hamer

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Please Don’t Vote For Me

The Right claims that Occupy Wall Street is secretly dominated by anarchists, but the real inner cabal is composed of smart academics. This movement has learned from all the failed activism of the last forty years. In the 1960s young hippies attempted to overthrow the established order, but their values were completely opposed to those of the working class. Now the young hippies have signs that say, We Are the 99%. (Besides, the working class is no longer scared of long hair.) The Occupiers also refuse to be pushed to the left. They don’t attack capitalism or even the war in Afghanistan. They just say over and over, “Why did they bail out the banks but not us?”

The Sun Interview

If Only We Would Listen

Parker J. Palmer On What We Could Learn About Politics, Faith, And Each Other

There are people on the far Right and far Left who can’t join in a creative dialogue about our differences — say, the most radical 15 or 20 percent on either end. But that leaves 60 or 70 percent in the middle who could have that conversation, given the right conditions. And in a democracy, that’s more than enough to do business.

The Sun Interview

Brewing Up Trouble

Chip Berlet On The Tea Party And The Rise Of Right-Wing Populism

I don’t want to alarm people. Right-wing populist movements seldom become fascist, and fascist movements seldom take power. But when you build a major social movement around scapegoating and resentment, things can move quickly in a bad direction.

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