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We need to address the real business at hand — namely, how are we to live in a collapsing world?

RE: “For Democrats, business as usual” [Viewpoint, May. 18]:

Dear Nancy Braus:

Having been there myself, I appreciate the frustration and rage you expressed with the Democratic Party in your Viewpoint and the party’s continuing unwillingness to fight for the values and policies you and I stand for.

However, I have to admit that, given your years as a progressive activist, I was also puzzled that you were seemingly surprised by this long-established fact about the Democrats. Perhaps you expected something different from the liberal wing of the ruling class?

In my humble opinion, Nancy, what we as activists need to finally come to terms with is that politics are not the answer to political problems, and especially when we’re dealing with such fundamental questions of political power as white supremacy, emerging fascism, class warfare, and climate apocalypse.

Washington, D.C. is the graveyard, not progenitor, of we-the-people democracy. As I’ve said over the years, we-the-people are on our own. As soon as we-the-people accept and, most importantly, act on this understanding, , the sooner will we experience a values-based, direct democracy in action and less government by false representation, with its lies and corruption.

This begins when we are real about our present situation, recognizing that we live in a world that is evidencing the likelihood of collapse.

In such a world, the question for us as activists and citizens is not how can we force the malefactors who benefit from this mess to do what is against their class interests.

Rather, it’s how are we going to live in a collapsing world? How do we create a viable alternative? How do we transform ourselves to be the truly democratic, values-committed citizens required by this new world?

Challenging questions, indeed, but ones that we as activists need to be asking locally, in our homes and neighborhoods, schools and workplaces, communities and towns.

We need to bring people together for community conversations where they are encouraged and supported for acting on the world as it is — the new normal — and where newly experienced relevance, meaning, and satisfaction can be derived from our collective efforts that increasingly supplant the charlatan’s false hopes of returning to an imaginary past.

Challenging, yes, and even seemingly impossible, at least in the beginning, when people are just beginning to realize and appreciate their collective wisdom and power once they dedicate themselves — not to trying to change the ruling class and their sycophants in D.C., but to being the movers and shakers of a real democracy, where what is done is in the direct correlation to the interests and welfare of all.

While your outrage with the Democrats is an honest and justifiable response to their unprincipled behavior, I would only encourage you to consider that we can no longer afford what is, unfortunately, a waste of our valuable and very limited time or energy. Rather, we need to address the real business at hand — namely, how are we to live in a collapsing world?

I have no answers, of course, other than I believe they exist within all of us coming together in our communities, talking with each other, identifying the issues and concerns that we know about right now, and then acting as best we can in a collective fashion.

Will this save our sorry butts? Who knows. But one reasonable possibility is that people getting involved with and acting on their lives — not leaving them up to the politicos and corporates to do that for us — will be the best antidote for fascism, will be the only thing that will enable us to make peace with our hemorrhaging climate, and will demonstrate how foolish white men have been to exclude women and people of color from the table.

In solidarity,

Tim Stevenson
Athens

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Originally published in The Commons issue #665 (Wednesday, May 25, 2022). This story appeared on page C2.

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