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democratic America
  advancing intelligent life with humanity,
leadership, and pragmatism

gary e. davis
November 5, 2020
  American humanity prevails
climate leadership for sustainability
collaborative global political leadership
progressive pragmatism
demophilic meritocracy

  American humanity prevails
  Amazing grace has come to America: good-bye orange-faced huckster. Nonetheless, “The closeness of the results,” writes Ruth Marcus, WPost, today, “underscores the alarming reality that a significant plurality of Americans supports the most disastrous, most dangerous president in our history.”

The Senate hasn’t gained a Democratic majority, but Biden’s bipartisanship and legacy of relations with Republican Senators will bode well (in my view, Ms. Marcus), given the fully-recovered economy that will preface the 2022 elections, thereby pressuring moderate Republicans to cooperate during 2021.

Meanwhile, better education must be brought to Red states. The fact that Trump had so much support—which was provincial, impulsive, and uninformed (if not racist and authoritarian)—shamed the integrity of America’s example for developing nations.

Supposing that Red states are predominantly religious in ideology, they certainly weren’t Christian in supporting Trump’s narcissistic bullying. Inasmuch as authoritarianism backs Republican Senators, then extensive education in being genuinely Christian is vital for a humane Senate (a possibly important point for countering Republican Senators up for election in 2022). That’s why I noted at Tom Friedman’s fine article last month that “Christians will not [vote for Trump]. Your vote addresses the heartfulness of God's love” (which addresses the heart of Christianity, not my anthropological sense of fidelity to “God”).

Meanwhile, a narrowly Republican Senate won’t stop the Biden Administra-tion from restoring America’s example for developing nations and exemplar-ity for collaborative global leadership for sustainability, against climate risks, for progresssive economics, and against authoritarianism.

American exceptionalism is real, despite our episode of political disease. As a former senior U.N. official noted to Tom Friedman (link above), “America’s intent, if not always its practice, has been to exhort not extort other nations; to export not exploit; to collaborate not dominate; and to strengthen a global system of rules and norms, not overturn it in order to focus exclusively on its own enrichment.”

climate leadership for sustainability
Especially vital is climate leadership, of course. Restoring American fidelity to the Paris Agreement should remind people locally that we’ve always been in “The Age of Nature”: Humanity has always been a planetary gift of evolving intelligent life, which now requires stewardship of Itself by the only species that can keep Earth sustainable for Us. Earth itself couldn’t care less, because non-intelligent life adjusts to desertification’s radical pruning of species.

The Biden Administration will quickly reverse the Trump/Capitalist adminis-tration’s cancelling of nearly 100 environmental rules. But the axis of Paris Agreement work must be done by better city models, implementation, and learning, not to underemphasize the long-term importance of energy innovation, reforesting, electric transportation, etc.—even environmental engineering, which PBS Nova recently discussed.

collaborative global political leadership
This concept is a keynote of Biden’s sense of foreign policy, as he indicated last spring in Foreign Affairs. Notable is Biden’s linkage of American regional interests with transnational policy, not merely nation-to-nation internation-alism.

Persons thinking about multi-polar international relations commonly have a pyramidal notion of global relations (a flat-topped pyramid like Mayan structures): a group of leading nations at the top relating with each other (G-7—> G20—> coninental constellations of nations), with each nation’s internal affairs being mostly nobody else’s business. The converse complement is that foreign affairs is the business of diplomats and not really the business of regional citizens.

That has been unrealistic for decades: The world is managed (not really governed) by a multi-modal constellation of constellations: WTO; the global network of central banks; the U.N., the G-7 <—> G20 interface; regional diplomatic alliances; regional economic alliances; continental rhizomes of metropolitan areas; the global metropolia of tightly linked metropolitan areas (where, for example, New York City and London are more kindred with each other than NYC and Boston; or London and Amsterdam); linked financial markets; special issue constellations (e.g., commodity conglomerates, NGO collaboratives, public health networks, etc.); and more.

Evolution of humanity now is a vertiginously complex, planetary organiza-tional “liquid” (not a singular System): All of those constellations intersect like various nets of different colors overlapping on a swelling sea—one color rising locally in ephemeral prevailing over other modes and/or across large scales, then descending—equilibrating topographies, disequilibrating, adjusting to changes in each other, facing inter-modal conflicts (e.g., financial market issues vs. regional public health issues), and creating innovative trans-modal collaborations (e.g., addressing regional commodity-market recessions through global financial markets, also instilling national discipline through affected and interventional monetary policy).

But who wouldn’t like to see strongly humanitarian, progressive collaboration that is securely institutionalized? That was the grand idea of the United Nations: that it might become the leading coordinative body that it was designed to be?—an appellant cohering of humanity?

Progressive national policy for the sake of collaborative global leadership can advance such an ideal, which becomes more important as climate change dramatizes the global/local interface of regional lives.

The exemplary Brookings Institution has provided a specific list of “action-able foreign policy ideas for the next president.” (I’ve joked in news media comment that the Biden administration should simply import the entire Brookings Institution into its departments.)

progressive pragmatism
The above section sketches provide a partial portrait of what I think progressive pragmatism is. But the recent years of plutocratic incompetence in the White House have dramatized how democracy is a work in progress, as future shock is relentless. An electoral process 40 years ago, a Supreme Court of that era, the media ecosystems couldn’t have understood what the Googli-zation of the global village is (antedating anti-trust law), let alone the wild Twitter world (challenging notions of regulating freedom of speech).

In recent months, lots of ideas have emerged for revising our form of govern-ment—beyond burying the Electoral College. Larry Diamond is exemplary for democratic thinking. There’s a large literature on Constitutional and govern-mental revision.

demophilic meritocracy
We should want the best and brightest to commit themselves to advancing and ensuring good government.

But there’s a lack of appreciation for how meritocracy can promote demo-cracy, which can distribute deliberative government into the populace (through enablative leadership), making society more democratic.

There have been useful recent criticisms of meritocracy, but they don’t see how to advance deliberative democratization, so they dismiss meritocracy
as such.

Differently, at Hong Kong and Taiwan universities, there is active prospecting of how “political meritocracy” can avoid the inflexible pyramidalism of Beijing, while avoiding the risks of unmanageability that seem to plague “Western” “developed” societies—a reasonable fear that actually shows misunderstanding of how thriving societies are evolving in unprecedented ways. As I said elsewhere recently, democratic trending in good government is necessarily messy.

We’re living a planetarity that has no language adequate for conceiving leading forms of humanity within the so-called Anthropocene. We’re making it up as we live across generations. We are given the chance and challenge of designing Our evolution, but only by also intelligently stewarding the future of Our first planet.

Yet, we don’t live epochally, except by imagination. Actually, It All emerges from ordinary days going by. Grandeur belongs to prospecting, idealizing, ventures, hope, and art.


next—> for Bidenist care



  Be fair. © 2020, gary e. davis