A year and a half ago, I had the privilege of attending a weeklong faculty seminar in Maryland. The topic: globalization and democracy. The Wye Faculty Seminar was established to bring faculty from all over the USA together to think deeply about democracy, particularly, though not exclusively, the democracy practised by the United States of America.It was the first time I'd studied for any real length of time in the US. OK, so it was only a week, but it was long enough for me to realize several things. One, that watching US TV and living on the edges of the country is not the same as being there. You learn a lot when you're the fringes -- more on that later, maybe -- but it's not the same as being immersed -- being surrounded by, eating with, talking to, US citizens. And in this case, reading excerpts from the founding documents of the USA and discussing those ideas with the others who had been chosen to attend the retreat.The result: a series of sparks of ideas in my head. In The Bahamas, on what is our concept of democracy founded? Do we have a concept of democracy? Our constitution, such as it is, is an adaptation from a boilerplate supplied to us by an anti-imperial Britain at the tail end of the colonial era. Is democracy important to us at all?Today, I had at the almost equal privilege of finding an answer. Two thirds of the way through a class, I realized I was part of a classroom debate whose focus was hope and agency in the globalizing Bahamas. That wasn't what we thought we were talking about at first. The discussion had grown out of our long-term study on the economics of Junkanoo, in which the members of this particular class participated; but before we knew it, we were discussing Bahamians' constitutional rights and the conviction that too many young men on the streets of Nassau have that they have no rights at all -- that the only people they have to depend upon are themselves. And one of my students was outlining the only concept that makes sense today: that we need to imagine a different way of living, that we need to create a philosophy of citizenship, that we need to build what he calls an illusion of our own.The "illusion" that drives American democracy, that sets the standard, for better or worse, whether we like it or not, of democracy in the world, are the principles on which the American nation is founded. What we need today, perhaps forty years too late but not a moment too soon, are our own democratic principles. We need a movement that gives us our own "illusion" -- Bahamian ideals by which our actions, collective and individual, may be measured.Ever since last year's sojourn in Maryland, I've been thinking about the ideals in which we believe. We need them more than ever today. We need them to give us the impetus, for instance, when politics lead to absurdity, to call our politicians out. We need them to judge our own actions, and those of our society at large, and adjust our behaviour accordingly. I suspect they're similar to, but not entirely the same as, American ideals; they're strengthened by our history of freedom and republicanism and tempered by our close encounter with racial apartheid. They need to be written down in a place where we can all find them when we need them.It's time to build our own declaration of democracy. I'm ready to start working.