Democracy Building in the United States

The institutions, culture and public policy that drive our society needs to be transformed so that adults and young people share roles more equitably within government, communities, workplaces, and families. With that assumption firmly intact, the development of new cultural and structural avenues to foster the active participation of children and youth takes a firm light. Such avenues might include the following:

Horizontal, non-authoritarian attitudes between young people and adults. This takes the form of stopping the discrimination against children and youth inherent in adultism. Dismantling oppressive cultures and structures that discriminate against young people is no small charge, with the systematic disenfranchisement facing children and youth thoroughly entrenched in all corners.

Fully-democratic positions for young people throughout society. The institutions we rely on to support and sustain democracy must be made completely accommodating towards children and youth. This extends beyond government, and includes schools, hospitals, nonprofits, policing, etc.

Restructuring of educational opportunities. The introduction, infusion, deepening, reflection and critical examination of democracy is a taught thing that must be reinforced throughout the schooling, working, out-of-school, and other activities all people are engaged in.

These are three massive ideas that have to be thoroughly examined, and unfortunately this little blog isn’t the best place for that to happen. The evolution of young people is simultaneously motivated by and motivating of the advancement of technology throughout society. Wikipedia, videocams, Facebook, cell phones and other sorts of developments are encouraging the development of democracy that is more than participatory; instead, it is owned. An owned democracy – and not one that is owned by corporate overlords, either, although its a slippery slope between popular ownership and corporate ownership. Walking that slippery slope is essential, the nature of our society requires walking that thin line constantly: democracy in an evolving society cannot be enshrined. In that same way, neither are young people static. More than ever, they refuse to sit still or wait. Instead, they’re rapidly moving forward at a pace that we must strive to stay caught up to. Deliberate democracy building must be geared towards youth engagement.

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