“I agree with you. I want to do it. Now make me do it,” President Roosevelt famously told a group of supporters pressing him for new policies.
And he was right: democracy doesn’t begin and end inside the ballot box. And neither does citizenship. We’ve become accustomed to an account of citizenship that makes no demands on us beyond the forced campaign-cycle political participation of robo-calls, blast emails and doorhangers. This transactional and bloodless process leaves out the human connections, the attitudes and the commitments that underlie both good policymaking and robust communities.
As citizens in a democracy we must always ask:
- -What should we, as citizens, demand of ourselves?
- -What connections and qualities should we cultivate, and what concrete actions can we take to those ends?
- -What should we demand from the other players in our republic?
- -How should we treat one another?
- -By what principles should we celebrate or restrain our civic passions?
- -How much of our own conception of the good life should we seek to see enshrined in local, state and federal law?
In this space, we seek those answers.