Ed Simon On The Collapse Of Democracy

Ed SimonEd Simon

Today democracy is imperiled not by civil war but by a citizenry torn apart by warring ideologies, in part because of the compelling, if nihilistic, story that authoritarians have told about nationality. An authoritarian promises a shallow union with others who look like you; the true democrat ensures that such a union is possible with everyone. In democracy there is the reconciliation of opposites, the elevation of the vernacular, the transcendence of the individual through the equality of humanity … All the more reason amid today’s national rancor to revisit Whitman’s open embrace of the democratic ideal, his declaration that “every atom as belonging to me as good belongs to you,” no matter where you were born.