Nurture Democracy Begins

 I believe that the core reason to think about or care about Democracy is Citizenship – the idea that we are better off as individuals if we believe in and act with the interest of others in mind as well as ourselves. When the essential human desire for self-determination, personal freedom, and individual liberty meshes with and is enriched through collective correlates, there one finds, Citizenship.  Self-interest and the good of the other are not in conflict in this view but in fact support each other in a complementary fashion.   While the relationship between the individual and community or groups of individuals will always be complex and open to disagreement, the notion of citizenship as I am defining it means a particular stance within this debate.  The idea of citizenship as positive interdependency begins with the idea that our species long ago made a choice to live together in groups and this trend has continued unabated as we have spread out across our planet.  Therefore, since we have already made such a choice, why not choose an approach in which both the individual and the community benefit and support each other?  This not only makes logical sense, I argue that it has become an urgent necessity due to our increasingly complex human structures, our raw numbers, and our damaging impact on the only planetary home we have.  We no longer have the luxury of not working out our future collectively.  With hard work and perhaps a substantial dose of good fortune, we may yet create a sustainable future.  But if we are to have any chance, I am convinced that we must more fully understand and internalize Democratic sensibilities, principles, and practices.