Something to think about:

What if we have ceased to aspire to Democracy, or even democracy? What if the words “Democracy” and “America” are severed, and no longer imply each other? It is not unusual now to hear that we have lost our values, that we have lost our way. In the desperations of the moment, justified or not, certain among us have turned on our heritage, the country that has emerged out of generations of attention to public education, public health, public safety, access to suffrage, equality under law. It turns out, by their reckoning, that the country they call the greatest on earth has spent most of its history acting against its own (great) nature, and that the enhancements of life it has provided for the generality of its people, or to phrase it more democratically, that the people have provided for themselves, have made its citizens weak and dependent. How the greatest nation on earth maintains this exalted status while burdened with a population these patriots do not like or respect is an interesting question, certainly. In any case, the return to traditional values seems to them to mean, together with a bracing and punitive severity toward the vulnerable among us, the establishment of a kind of religious mono-culture we have never had and our institutions have never encouraged.

From When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson, whose work is full of grace and silence in a way that makes me think of the shadows that clouds cast on wide open spaces.

 

xx GD



smithsonian, stefani greenwood, graphics