Joseph Homer: We need more civics in politics

08/31/2014 7:05 PM

08/31/2014 7:06 PM

Re “Task force report favors training better citizens” (Page A1, Aug. 11): Weighing in on the statewide report on civics, The Bee’s story squanders a momentous opportunity to criticize the report’s limited reflections on politics while failing to appreciate persistent institutional disdain for popular participation.

Crucially, the article and report neglect that politics is just as much about how we manage, share and mediate the space between us in (ideally) mutually beneficial ways as it is about policy or law or institution – something Jefferson knew well.

And while the report and the article boringly continue to unreflectively worship our “forefathers” for being “extremely adept” at turning their radical privilege into productive civic conversations, it hardly notes Jefferson’s ultimate inability to constitutionally furnish and protect forums known as wards – spaces of communal, popular participation.

Finally, the article – like many – painfully scapegoats “complainers” as a primary enemy of a verdant democracy, disregarding that they are a byproduct of a polity that systemically fails to provide its own citizens with ample, gainful and accessible participatory opportunities, remarkably suggesting we could achieve “Ultimate Citizenry” status by voting regularly enough on others’ initiatives or by more religiously showing up in court, all welcome prescriptions but which nevertheless fail to effectively involve me and you.

Joseph Homer, Modesto

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