Thanks to two donations (one of them incredibly generous), the first leg of the ‘Democracy Cafe — A System Unrigged’ journey across the fruited plain begins tomorrow. First up, middle and high schools for three full days in Mt. Shasta California (with also a stop at elementary schools), all of them open to the community, as well as community-wide gatherings at Mt Shasta Public Library and Weed Public Library. Then on May 19, I’ll be at Sebastopol, California’s Many Rivers Bookstore, which inaugurated an ongoing Democracy Cafe several months ago. On June 25, we’ll have one at an organized dinner in San Antonio. And then, on June 8, I go to the iconic Busboys & Poets community gathering place in Northwest Washington, D.C., and the next evening, June 9, at Takoma Park, Maryland, public library (Takoma Park is a sanctuary city, and also undocumented immigrants can vote in local elections). Then, on to New England, where on June 12 I’ll be in Augusta and then on June 13 at Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Stay tuned for more (and more details, on our nonprofit site and FB pages).

Some of the issues we’ll look at with both a Socratic magnifying glass and microscope with diverse participants include:

Freedom versus Security — which is more important (and which types are more important, and which types harmful) in an open society (part and parcel of this, we’ll look at whether efforts like building a wall with Mexico and increasingly rounding up undocumented immigrants enhance or damage our democracy, or whether it’s a mixed bag, and whether they make our country more or less secure (and what does the Constitution say about it)?    

Our relationship with Russia — Should this be looked at through a more complex, nuanced, and historical prism, and is there a way to make it less divisive and more cooperative without co-opting democracy, and indeed in a way that can cultivate a more open society? 

The exorbitant cost of education and healthcare in U.S.  compared to other developed countries, and its impact on democracy  (here is a link to an FB post about healthcare in Japan  

An arguably ‘rigged system’ that,  for instance, in the case of the Democratic Party, made it nigh impossible for Bernie Sanders ever to gain the nomination

The fact that we often are deliberate recipients not only of fake news, but of misinformation, and by those we trust to give us a plethora of ‘the facts’ – check this disturbing article out.

The idea and aim is to explore how we can ‘unrig’ our system in ways that make it possible for all to contribute, to be heeded and heard, in the civic sphere.