Healing the Heart of Democracy : The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit
Overview - At a critical time in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good -- without the shouting, blaming, or defaming so common in our politics today. In his newest book, Parker J. Read more...
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More About Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker J. Palmer
At a critical time in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good -- without the shouting, blaming, or defaming so common in our politics today. In his newest book, Parker J. Palmer builds on his own extensive experience as an inner life explorer and social change activist to examine the personal and social infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach he does here for citizens by looking at the dynamics of our inner lives for clues to reclaiming our civic well-being. In Healing the Heart of Democracy, he points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of compassion and creativity still found among "We the People." "Democracy," writes Palmer, "is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart -- and its outcome can never be taken for granted. The experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart's alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy's demands." Healing the Heart of Democracy names the "habits of the heart" we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. Palmer proposes practical and hopeful methods to hold the tensions of our differences in a manner that can help us restore a government "of the people, by the people, for the people."
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Palmer’s (Let Your Life Speak) newest was six years in the making. He bravely takes on the current political climate, with its atrophy of citizen participation, the ascendance of an oligarchy that shapes politics, and the substitution of vituperation for thoughtful public discussion. It’s a tall order that became even taller because Palmer had to climb out of a pit of depression—a personal vulnerability proclivity—to do so. But wrestling with essential questions of public life became therapeutic, and this book provides therapy for the American body politic. Palmer’s use of acute 19th-century observers of American life and character—Tocqueville, Lincoln—as well as his use of anecdotes and lessons from his own long career provide context and tonic. His insights are heart-deep: America gains by living with tension and differences; we can help reclaim public life by actions as simple as walking down the street instead of driving. Hope’s hardly cheap, but history is made up of what Palmer calls “a million invisible acts of courage and the incremental gains that came with them.” This beautifully written book deserves a wide audience that will benefit from discussing it. (Sept.)