Democracy is teleological. It’s a collective effort with a noble goal: inclusion.” As democratic citizens, we enjoy taking pride in democracy’s achievements: suffrage, immigration, civil rights. But, just as often, we feel anger and shame about rising inequality, insufficient representation, corruption. Democracies, often ruled by a revolving cast of élites, rarely live up to their utopian promises of inclusivity. Shame prevents us from being complacent; it urges us toward self-critique. Pride provides us with a sense of direction. The balance makes democracy a struggle we can believe in. “In some ways, democracy is a fiction that we’re trying to realize,”

sparks! is curated by Al Etmanski

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