As someone who views public deliberation as an essential feature of democracy, I am heartened to see left viewpoints finally being addressed on the op/ed page of The New York Times. This column by Mitchell Abidor mentions by name the fast-growing organization Democratic Socialists of America, the increasingly prominent journal Jacobin, and Bhaskar Sunkara, author of The Socialist Manifesto. I guess democratic socialism has finally returned to the public sphere! Having come of age during the Cold War, I find that delightfully shocking.
I am disheartened, however, by the lack of respect Abidor shows towards fellow citizens who hold political views that differ from his own, an attitude all too commonly expressed on social media by supporters of the Democratic Party. Support the party line – “blue no matter who” – or prepare to be blasted! I find that position problematic because democracy entails equals governing themselves through collaborative decision-making, so respecting the views of others, even when you disagree, constitutes an essential component of self-rule. Continue reading