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democratic America
  enjoying an intimate conception:
Biden’s and my democratic society

gary e. davis
February 5, 2021
Biden’s Inaugural Address gave substantive focus to
“We, the People” early on.

By the way: His address was broadcast worldwide. I saw
an image of a crowd on a Shanghai business district street evidently spellbound by Biden’s address happening on a giant video high above them.

A week later it’s all forgotten? It was all merely ceremonial?
sections below:
purpose, love, nation
valuing democracy
citizenship <—> leadership
appreciating history
uniting for going forward
call to service
American humanity again
making legacy for our children

  “…the American story depends on…all of us: on ‘We the People’ who seek a more perfect Union. This is a great nation and we are a good people.”

people, nation, union…good, great, more perfect.

You have to be predisposed to think about another’s choice of terms, to not let the moment pass—thanks to written text! Stopping a video is no substitute.

people, nation, and union.

The good is easy to think about, no matter how nebulous it may seem to be
(but possibly specific).

Thinking of greatness easily makes one anxious, but aspiration is admirable
in a life. That can authentically belong to political imagination.

In the value of “more perfect,” there’s humility toward perfection because grandly receding horizons draw us into progressing, into advancing importantly.

It’s all about what you live for: making It alive—and what, as citizen, you stand for: making it matter.

So, what’s the better way of bonding life and standing?

Our Common Purpose: a bond of love among us with love of nation
    Biden’s August address for the Democratic National Convention called for Our being “united in our love for America and united in our love for each other.”

A living bond between [a] belonging with each other (caring about and for each other) and [b] belonging with Our nation—Our nation—is what he means by repeatedly insisting that we be united.

It’s not structual, not even basically about governmental bipartisanship. It’s about what makes structural bipartisanship work: standing for what deserves to live, being the lives that make Our environment (known via voting, polling, social media, and astute journ-alism) cause The Elect to lead for public good—to do so admirably and exemplarily,
i.e., making and keeping political virtue alive.

Though I’m extrapolating effusively from the simplicity of Biden’s appeal, no doubt his Inaugural Address sought to “Inspire a Culture of Commitment to American Constitu-tional Democracy and One Another” (see Strategy 6).
valuing democracy as such
    So, Biden wasn’t being sentimentalist in his address by celebrating the moment as “democracy’s day.”

The day in mind was not January 20. It was an appeal to make a pretext of new era be that actually. “The cause of democracy” is what causes more democratic reality to accrue to
the aspiration for more perfect union.

Of course, there’s never democracy enough. And, why not? “We have learned again that democracy is precious,” he said. “Democracy is fragile.”

Making history only happens when it’s made: “The story that tells ages yet to come that… democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrived.”
citizenship <—> leadership
    How pure can democratic trends become, such that bonds between membership and leadership at every level and mode of our shared world are alive and generative?

Such a complex of bonding—among us and for us—is in mind when Biden insists—as if ceremonially, but heartfully—that “each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens,
as Americans, and especially as leaders—leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation—to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”

Truth of being is only by way of its being of truth—which is as much about truthfulness
of one’s life as it’s about reliability of one’s views. Being of truth is the truth of being.

That’s oblique? And simple at once—too simple?

It’s no calling for faith. It’s calling to truthfully be.
    When Biden avows stereotypically that “we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible,” that can only practically mean: We come together as one people in the bonds of common purpose.

Our grand mythology of “God” (so called, because what two persons agree on the meaning of ‘God’ outside of presumed doctrine?) long ago certified that freedom implies no intervention from the black, cold heavens. We are on our own, in the world we make.

That’s only where “God” exists—where the god the ancestors made is kept efficacious.

From Jesus to Heidegger, the truth of freedom is that “God” is being in the world authen-tically, truthfully; or else, there’s no “God” at all.
appreciating history
    “Through a crucible for the ages,” Biden declares, “America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.”

There will be no authoritarian legacy in America. That reality entitles us to feel a sense
of new founding, which genuine nationalism is about.

But evolving is a neverending challenge. To declare that we are created equal is nowa-days that each person is intrinsically entitled to fair chances to actualize their potential for being: planned parenthood by adults who embody good enough parenting sustainably; educational excellence; community.

We’re created equal only inasmuch as we enable each other as best we can.

“Our history has been a constant struggle,” Biden acknowledges, “between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear and demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial. Victory is never assured.” Our forever-less-than-perfect union never has enough creation.

But “our ‘better angels’ have always prevailed.” High in the unfathomable horizon (appeal facing us, winged backs facing the future), their openness draws our potential into maybe achieving a lot, then maybe paying forward with lasting legacy for lives of our heirs to be better created than the world we bettered, thanks to our ancestors’ commitments.
(Of course, those angels are really tropes for enowned character strengths that appeal
for virtue—but oneSelf always shows as phenomenal appeal’s mirroring).

“Here we stand, in the shadow of a Capitol dome that was completed amid the Civil War, when the Union itself hung in the balance. Yet we endured and we prevailed.”

Democracy’s day, “a day of history and hope—of renewal and resolve” must advance union among us fruitfully, and thereby as a nation where each personal life is a point in the grand pointillism of history composing Itself. “The story that foretells ages yet
to come …is what we owe our forebears…”
uniting for greatly going forward
    Again, the unity in mind is a uniting of engagement, united in common purpose between each other, thus for Our nation: “uniting to fight the common foes we face: anger, resent-ment, hatred—extremism, lawlessness, violence—disease, joblessness, hopelessness.”

Recall how Biden, in direct presence with a citizen, is likely to hold their shoulders and heartfully avow specific hope and resolve: We can do this! “We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome this deadly virus. We can reward work, rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice.”

Know that prayer is an avowal of hope, resolve, renewal, and validation of promise.
It doesn’t require a god. It requires that one be truly there in hope and all.

The song calls to us: “Let’s add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation.”

“May this be the story that guides us—the story that inspires us.”
call to service
    Being in our world authentically and truthfully makes the day, the family, the work,
the neighborhood, the community, thus the nation.

To avow that “we can treat each other with dignity and respect” is to assert a principle
of that sacred continuum, making and keeping the continuum sacred.

That’s no requirement of faith. It’s a call to engagement, being truly.

“Let us listen to one another, hear one another, see one another” truly. To “open our souls” is to truly be.

I often wonder what calls a doctor of medicine to stay the course with clients who don’t care enough about themselves to prevent the avoidable costs of being repaired. Maybe,
the calling is that persons who don’t care can’t.

Well, at least the pay is good. Not so for the calling to teach restless children day after day; or to help impoverished persons survive; or to be a public defender of vicous losers; or risk one’s life in policing for the sake of public good—on and on.

And why are’t more highly talented persons seeking careers in government?

The stunning reality is that so many persons do make lives of service. Thank goodness that they do.

“So, with purpose and resolve we turn to the tasks of our time… devoted to this country we love with all our hearts…together, we shall write an American story…of decency and dignity…of love and healing…of what we owe one another” and “ages yet to come.”
American humanity again
    We should keep in mind that the “American” Idea draws so many emigrants to this continent because a global aspiration of all humanity is to advance the humanity of
their homeland—until they’re compelled to emigrate. Everyone deserves better humanity for their own nation.

The answer to unwanted immigration is contributing more to democratization elsewhere through support for the U.N. (especially UNESCO) and NGOs, as well as “mak[ing] America, once again, the leading force for good in the world.”

“We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again” because that serves Our interests, as well as the interests of our partners in advancing good qualities of life.

Admirable exemplarity—virtue—can be great power, because persons hunger for model instances of how to do things better for themselves. Being “a beacon to the world” is centrifugal, as well as centripetal. Light energizes, as well as orients.

So, “we’ll lead…by the power of our example” because enlightenment can be great.
making legacy for our children
    The greatest honor to our ancestors is doing well to advance legacies for ones to come.

The craftsmen of grand cathedrals knew they’d never see the completion, but they loved the conception, thus loved ensuring the quality of their work, as if vicariously living the future through the immanence of their commitment.

Composition of Our evolving is to be never ending, though each life can only be and witness its time, like flowers in a field made for flourishing.

a story there’s to be!

Biden recalls the song that asks “What shall be our legacy, what will our children say?”
But The Question is: What can we envision now that they can live, thanks in part—great part?—to what we do now?

One of the best aspects of growing old is enjoying youth’s unwitting trust in being now because it’s all future—more new life, new futurity, in a lovely cohering of Time across generations.

The song avows, “when our days were through, our children and our children’s children will say of us, they gave their best,” while the conception is to be ever perfecting.






  Be fair. © 2021, g. e. davis