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Experiencing the Thrill of Democracy

Originally published on Moyers and Company on 06/15/2016

Photo Credit: Nicholas Kamm /AFP/Getty Images

Demanding that Congress remove big money’s stranglehold on our democracy and protect voting rights, we walked more than 100 miles from Philadelphia to Washington, DC this spring with Democracy Spring.

The experience changed us. Our energy has never been higher. So what do we do now?

Whatever the answer is, we are determined to build on our final minutes of the march. As the Capitol dome came into view, we found ourselves among hundreds, all chanting at full throat, “Whose democracy? Our democracy!” We felt a thrill of recognition:

Our democracy.

We’d never quite experienced that feeling before. While we’ve found it deeply soul-satisfying to protest injustice and our rigged system, in that heady moment we felt something different: that we were no longer outsiders but owners. With that feeling came a deep knowing that this so-called democracy could actually become one in which we all function as owners, each with a real voice.

We felt we were fulfilling a duty to what is ours, not only to propose but to take responsibility for solutions and to insist that we have a hand in shaping those solutions.