Learning about Democracy

Last week (August July 18-24) I had the privilege to attend the Wye Faculty Seminar of the Aspen Institute. This entailed joining 33 other members of faculty from around the USA in a retreat in the woods to discuss democracy, globalization and the American polity. The actual title: "Citizenship in the American and Global Polity".

I have to say that I began with a couple of suspicions. I am naturally sceptical when it comes to the exercise of colonial powers, and the USA is the twenty-first century's main empire (China's a distant runner-up).

I was pleasantly surprised. The focus of the readings and the discussions was idealistic, and the tenor respectful. Very respectful. And I got hooked on the ideals.

Bad idea, right? You attach yourself to ideals, you're bound to get hurt, right? You're bound to get let down, disappointed, burned, yes?

Well, maybe. But that's no good reason to avoid ideals altogether.

So I've decided I'm going to blog about democracy and the global polity as time goes on. It's time we gave some thought to what that means for us -- and by "us" I mean those of us in the Caribbean, where we by and large have slaked ourselves in the democratic residue of our colonial pasts. And where that residue is prone, often enough, to slake off, as fake skins tend to do. It's time for us to carve our own democracies.

So let's start the conversation.