Have you ever held something precious in your hands – a delicate piece of crystal, an old family heirloom, perhaps a baby bird that’s prematurely fallen from its nest? These days I’ve been thinking about our democracy as precious, fragile, and needing our attention and great care, not unlike these things we’ve so carefully once held.
Democracy represents a set of ideals that we’ve strived for as a nation, never likely to be perfect, but we’re aiming high. I’m concerned that we have, too often, taken our democracy for granted as though it will always exist and always be there for us.
Our democracy is based on foundational principles, values, rights, and the rule of law. It requires people to be engaged, to govern, to advance legislation and the laws of our society, to monitor and oversee actions of our elected leaders, and to vote.
This delicate system also requires truth, honesty and people working together in good faith for the wellbeing and collective good of our citizens. American democracy is so important to other countries with similar aims across the world. We’ve all likely said the Pledge of Allegiance a thousand times, but when was the last time you really focused on the words of our American pledge?