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The Last Time Democracy Almost Died | The New Yorker

The historian Mary Ritter Beard warned that American democracy would make no headway against its “ruthless enemies—war, fascism, ignorance, poverty, scarcity, unemployment, sadistic criminality, racial persecution, man’s lust for power and woman’s miserable trailing in the shadow of his frightful ways”—unless Americans could imagine a future democracy in which women would no longer be barred from positions of leadership: “If we will not so envisage our future, no Bill of Rights, man...
democracy  history  politics 
yesterday by ajdecandis
Astra Taylor, "The Right to Listen," The New Yorker
"The idea that the right to listen to one another should be defended in a democracy seems strange. That’s probably because we lack a shared vocabulary or framework for understanding listening as a political act."

"But to listen is to act; of that, there’s no doubt. It takes effort and doesn’t happen by default."

"A listener, when she realizes that she struggles to attend to only certain kinds of voices, apprehends the divisions in society. How we hear someone relates to that person’s gender, race, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and wealth. Some voices are perceived as authoritative, others are ignored; some are broadcast around the world, others fade for lack of funds. Attempting to create what the essayist Rebecca Solnit calls “a democracy of equal audibility” is a social enterprise—it’s one of the tasks of feminist, anti-racist, and economic-justice movements. What would such a democracy sound like? Certainly not like one booming bass note."

"To defend our right to listen to one another, we must sometimes strain to hear voices that the powerful would drown out."

"How might Zuckerberg’s rhetoric strike us if we also saw the ability of citizens to hear one another as central to democracy? From that perspective, the deliberate pollution of our common listening space might register as an anti-democratic act. The listening perspective is especially useful today, in the age of digital media. While Facebook and other social-media platforms do facilitate speech, their business models revolve, in a fundamental way, around the manipulation and commodification of listening."

"… the history of thought about free speech does contain ideas that can be of use. Among them are the concepts of “audience interests” and the “right to hear,” which have been repeatedly recognized by the Supreme Court. These concepts see the First Amendment from a listener’s point of view. In addition to asking, “Do I have the right to speak,” Genevieve Lakier, a professor at the University of Chicago School of Law, told me, we can ask, “Am I, as a listener, genuinely hearing a diverse and representative array of views?”"

"As an activist on the left, I long assumed that my role consisted entirely of raising awareness, sounding alarms, and deploying arguments; it took me years to realize that I needed to help build and defend spaces in which listening could happen, too. As citizens, we understand that the right to speak has to be facilitated, bolstered by institutions and protected by laws. But we’ve been slow to see that, if democracy is to function well, listening must also be supported and defended—especially at a moment when technological developments are making meaningful listening harder."
AstraTaylor  NewYorker  2020Faves  2020  2020-01  listening  politics  democracy  activism  empathy 
3 days ago by briansholis
An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter
What if there aren’t really American swing voters—or not enough, anyway, to pick the next president? What if it doesn’t matter much who the Democratic nominee is? What if there is no such thing as “the center,” and the party in power can govern however it wants for two years, because the results of that first midterm are going to be bad regardless?
forecasting  democracy  politics  america  usa  elections 
4 days ago by markhgn
The 2020 Election Will Be a War of Disinformation - The Atlantic
How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election
usa  politics  propaganda  democracy  election  disinformation  social-media 
5 days ago by floehopper

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