The point of a democracy is a gnarly melting pot of terrible, beautiful, true, false, messy ideas held by people as terrible, beautiful, true, false, and messy as the ideas they hold. Solzhenitsyn, who had more experience w/terrible things than any of us will, noted the problematic stance of writing off a group of people:
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
You can’t write off groups for the same reason you can’t write off pieces of your own heart. You have to understand and work through each piece to become a whole. I think it is the same w/a democracy.
The only way to a better democracy is through self-appropriation, that is, actively seeking out and destroying your own biases, faults, and issues. The humility learned in this process is a fantastic teacher for understanding the struggle in others. We’re all in this together, some of us are more aware of that fact. Closing ourselves off to those who are less aware only deepens the problem. I had a conversation w/the owner of our daughter’s tap studio, an incredible African American woman who grew up in the South during the segregation era. She brought this ideological strife home to me in a wildly human way: love them harder when they hate you. Love means loving the unlovable, or it isn’t love at all.
Finally, Behemoth always has good words for people who think evil can be eradicated through humanity alone:
But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.