Democracy is as much about what happens between elections as it is about what happens during them.
Sergio Vieira de Mello
I have finished Chasing the Flame, Samantha Power’s biography of Sergio Vieiria de Mello. Actually I finished it some time ago. Among the quotes that stay with me, is this reflection on democracy.
We – the United States – has come through an election cycle. We voted on the federal, state, and local level. We made choices on a president, senators, congress people, governors, mayors, city council people, judges and more. In some places, people made decisions on ballot issues such as marriage equality and the death penalty.
Candidates and PACS raised and spent tons – obscene tons in some ways – of money. Candidates said words profound and words disturbing. Fundraising appeals filled our email in-boxes. Robo-calls annoyed us. People went door-to-door and made phone calls and stuffed mail and entered data and planted posters and more on behalf of the candidate of their choice.
All important. All critical. All needed. And yet, only a part of democracy.
The votes are counted. Our work begins. Here are some ways that I know we can work:
We advocate for our concerns and about decisions that impact our sisters and brothers with those who have been elected.
We take part in community organizations and community organizing.
We support campaigns that address issues of concern to us and to our sisters and brothers.
We make phone calls, send emails and letters, visit.
We engage in the public policy making process when those policies are made by governments and when they are made by corporations.
We use our money through gifts and purchases to express our values. Or perhaps, we ponder what values our use of money expresses and whether we need to reshape how we give and spend.
What are some others? How do you practice democracy between elections?
See you along the Trail.