Friday, February 5, 2021

democratic life involves perpetual renewal,
in small degrees

The point of transition to a new governmental era performs a constitutionally derivative act of re-Founding that idealizes citizen commitment to their part in making the new era real.

A normal response is that one doesn’t have the time to honor such promise.

That suits the capitalist world well, as its under-monetized demands of work time commonly deny folks freedom for a high degree of citizen presence—even denying folks time for good attention to reliable news, little time for self-directed learning, little time for enriching friendships and sustaining neighborhood, even denying us time for good family, good-enough parenting. (The capitalist world spends heavily to prevent legislation of fair minimum wages.)

In pure democracy—an organizational level or very local citizen level—it’s ideal that every participant is qualified to lead the organization, but gathered persons choose one to represent all or to lead, because leading usually requires singular coordinative attention. But ideally, everyone is qualified to be chosen.

Scaling such an idea to the level of a regional government, the ideal becomes fantasy: that each citizen is highly competent for deciding who will represent “our” shared interests because each citizen is competent to be that representative or presiding lead.

But the Founders road to “a more perfect union” was realistic, though exclusive (not even populist among “white” men), about selecting the elect. This evolved, of course (with great struggle), but the ideal of universal competence was not even imagined.

Centuries later, We, the people, plod on, thanks to specialization and complex systemicity. “We” deserves to be, because we say so, though the “fathers” of the Constitution also couldn’t imagine how bricolagically vast Our national ecology could become.