Civil dialogue is not a pipe dream
Many of the early settlers on the land that was to become the United States of America were not “immigrants” needing freedom and care and possibility. They were explorers and adventurers and conquerors — English, French, Italian, Portuguese agents on a mission of discovery and expansion of national interests and power.
The early years of conquest and settlement are tarnished with tales of war, disease, confrontation, and distrust of power and domination and displacement and death. A review of the world today might indicate we have not moved far from that description of life on this small planet.
Yet Attorney General Barr is explaining that the agency he directs must be led from the top down, that one cannot expect the employees to determine how to manage the agency! His comment suggested that a participatory process of governance and leadership “might work for the “3-year-olds” in a “Montessori School,” but such a plan will not work in the Trumpian world.
An honest review of our nation’s early history indicates a far less attractive history than the image of early settlers enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with the earlier residents of the land. Many of those residents (Iroquois, Cherokee, other members of the Five Nations) enjoyed a well-established system of governance and leadership involving discussion, interaction, review, decision and implementation of agreed-upon goals!
Our Founding Fathers used the structure and ethics of the Five Nations to outline our structure in the Constitution. If that system can work for the Montessori students, perhaps it can work for the rest of us, who are trying to create a society that can share different views but that can discuss, and trust, and care, and create a method of governance that works for us all.
The structure requires thoughtful, informed, respectful, and diligent participation. The task right now is to become informed, consider impacts of your behavior and your decisions, and make the effort to vote!
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