Practicing Democracy

Pachamama Alliance • 16 October 2018

Practicing Democracy

Midterm elections are fast approaching in the United States, and with the control of both the Senate and Congress hanging in the balance many are hoping that this election will mark a dramatic shift in the trend of poor U.S. voter turnout. But why, in a nation that prides itself on being an example of freedom and democracy, do so few people exercise their right to participate in the political process?

One theory, outlined in an article published by The Atlantic titled Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore, is that democracy is a muscle that must be exercised, and not just once every 2-4 years when the big elections come along. Democracy (healthy democracy at least) requires ongoing participation with others. In short, true democracy requires connection and community.

Enjoy this lightly-edited, shorter version of the article (5 minutes), or for jump in and read the whole thing (7 minutes). Then, reflect on the following questions:

What are your thoughts about this relationship between community and democracy? 

  • What has been your experience with “practicing democracy”—participating in organizations and learning the protocols and practices of civic life?
  • How do you think our society could re-engage people in the governance of daily life?