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|Healing the Heart of Democracy
By Parker Palmer
Review: I’d like to think of myself as an optimist.¬† I try to embrace change in my own life and have chosen a profession in which I help homeless youth to transform their lives for the better.¬† I practice positive parenting.¬† I try to be a kind and helpful neighbor.¬† But the one area where I can’t summon an ounce of hope is politics.¬† I’ve¬† eschewed political coverage from my home and refused to engage in political discussions.¬† I’ve simply given up.¬† At the core of this conflict is a feeling of estrangement.¬† I thought politics was supposed to be about helping people–a spiritual practice of sorts.¬† But one look at Fox News and the idea of politics and spirituality having any relationship falls apart.
Enter “Healing the Heart of Democracy,” Parker Palmer’s new book.¬† It is the first book I have encountered which reframes politics with the voice of spirit.¬† In the book Palmer asks a bold question: How can we approach political life with the heart of Jesus or the Buddha? How can we all participate in local or national politics in a way which is healing to humanity.
Each page of this book filled me with hope. I began to feel myself opening to the possibility of engaging in political dialogues in a way in which our families and communities grow more tolerant and generous.¬† In short, this book inspired me to believe again and showed me the ways in which I can participate in political life again.
I recommend this book to absolutely everyone–on any side of the political spectrum, and especially to folks like me, who were standing aside, wringing their hands and wishing for a better democracy.