Let’s not talk about “them”

As I listen in on private and public conversations about the problems of American democracy, I’m struck time and again by how often our political talk is about people who aren’t in the room. We almost always talk about them – “those people” in Washington, D.C., or in our state capitols – the people we hold responsible for all our political pathologies. Rarely do we talk about us, the people who are in the room, about our nation’s problems and how we can help solve them. 

I was aware of this fact when I wrote the book, which is why I included this paragraph in a list of things this book is not about:

I will say little about “them,” the people in Washington, D.C., on whom we like to blame our ills. My focus is on “We the People,” whose will is key to democracy. If we cannot come together with enough trust to discern the general will – and support leaders who are responsible to it while resisting the rest – we will forfeit the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

From “Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit” by Parker Palmer