Is Democracy Worth Saving; or Not


On February 29th, 2020, I had both the privilege and opportunity to attend a lecture/responses and community conversation lead by Meadville Lombard Theological School and hosted by the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, TN that was highly informative and incredibly inspiring. The lecture itself titled, “Faith, Activism and Democracy,” was about the radically uncertain times, like now, when our democracy is at stake and asked how unexamined activism could do more harm than good. The lectures shared their thoughts on how we, members of the UU faith, can activate our UU theology and values to create a more democratic society.


For the lecture Dr. Mike Hogue, Professor of Theology, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, at Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Illinois drew from his most recent book titled, “American Immanence: Democracy for an Uncertain World that calls us to build radically democratic communities of responsibility, resistance, and resilience,” (one that I bought and had signed after the lecture and look forward to reading) in doing so Dr. Hogue illustrated beautifully the need faith and activism to exist simultaneously.

Of the many things that I took away from hearing Dr. Hogue speak some of the things that stood out to me where comments like, “Democracy is merely a long-running social experiment that we all play a part in;” to the differentiation of the words rebellion and revolution.


Dr. Hogue commented on how the idea democracy is a wounded and wounding idea and asked the question as to if democracy was worth saving and what it would like if we saved democracy or not. These questions have stayed with me ever since asked of those in attendance. What would American society look like if the democracy we knew today to be believed to be not worth saving, and a new form of democracy took its place? What would this new form of democracy look like; Who would have the power; would power even look the same as it does now?


Honestly, I do not an answer to any of these questions; however, I do know this, I would be very interested in finding out what could be possible in trying something new; after all, democracy, is merely an experiment and experiments fail. They must be changed over and over again until one experiment proves to be true if only for a matter of time until something comes along to challenge what was at one time believed to be true, just, fair, and equitable.

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