Our democracy (in the U.S.) is going through a bit of a rough patch right now. It’s not surprising. Democracy is hard sometimes.
But I have hope for democracy, and here is why. Anytime anyone practices the following virtues, they strengthen democracy:
Kindness: Use your words to strengthen people’s spirits, not crush them.
Compassion: Recognize that life is hard, and everyone suffers at some point. Do what you can to sit with people in their suffering and relieve it a little bit if you can.
Respect: Recognize that everyone has the ability to become more ethical and loving. nurture people’s ethical capacities with your actions and words.
Knowledge: Seek to know the truth and be wise, rather than to prove your point or to win arguments.
Critical Thinking: Think carefully about the arguments you hear. What is the conclusion being argued? Is there strong and relevant evidence to support it?
Dialogue: Be willing to talk with people who are different from you so you can become aware of your blind spots and areas in which you lack knowledge.
Responsibility: Realize that you have an important purpose in the world: to practice virtues like these to make your corner of the world a more loving place. Set an intention to practice these virtues.
Courage: Cultivating a flourishing democracy is hard sometimes, and it requires us to become bigger and better versions of ourselves. This can be scary, but we can be courageous, and we can do it.
Friend, you can do all these things. I can, too. Let’s strengthen our democracy today by practicing these virtues. If we do that, we are on the right path.
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