Every day I hear or read that “democracy is on the line,” its core benefits threatened or disappearing. While I agree with those sentiments, there’s probably more at stake than this form of government that we cherish.
It’s not difficult to find other elements of our personal and national existence that are perhaps fading or under attack. Each element is an essential component of the over-arching concept and practice of democracy. They are virtues, universally affirmed qualities that characterize the best in human nature. We might do well to talk together about these foundations of civil society. About how they apply to your personal character, too.
Think about how love and respect bind you to others. Or about your practice of emotional and intellectual honesty—truth-telling. Where have reason and logic been threatened by unhelpful emotions? How might the law—a body of knowledge and practice rooted in your spiritual core—have been co-opted by mob rule? Where is religion being subsumed into political fervor unconnected to your beliefs? Or consider how morality can get watered down by the need for pleasure or acceptance.
It’s not all that difficult to describe what’s being lost, but that hardly seems helpful. What may be at the heart of any diminishment are our ways of making—or not making–decisions. Societal virtues are not only concepts, but lived-out choices that can be experienced tangibly—seen, heard, practiced, promoted and taught by example.
Lamenting loss doesn’t always solve the problems we decry. Each of us is called by God to live what we believe, to be stewards of God’s truth. Let’s resolve together to keep our personal virtues and values strong. Let’s walk each day with each other along the lines of Jesus’ example and precepts!
Democracy will follow along….
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