UUA Common Read: Daring Democracy

Discussion at First Unitarian on April 8

Many Americans are stopped from imagining such a movement’s growing power by the oft-repeated refrain that we are a “divided people.” Yet there is a strong unity in the widespread anger at and sense of betrayal by a “rigged system.” Even on specific issues, there’s more common ground than is typically appreciated. Daring Democracy is about naming this unity and building on it. It’s about digging into the deep roots of this crisis so that we can choose the most powerful steps that we can take right now.

First Unitarian Church will hold a two-hour public discussion of Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want. This Beacon Press book by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen is about the growing threats to American democracy and what we can do about them. It’s the Unitarian Universalist Association “common read” for 2017–18.

The discussion will take place on Sunday, April 8, from noon to 2:00 p.m. in the Brunner Chapel. Daring Democracy is available online at InSpirit, the UUA bookstore, or beginning March 4, at the church’s Book Corner. The book easy to read, and despite the enormity of the issue, is practical and positive in its approach to revitalizing democracy. Both adults and teenagers will be inspired by its many examples of successful pro-democracy actions.

Daring Democracy also an important follow-up for our congregation. Some 200 Democracy Spring marchers came through Wilmington in April 2016 on their way from Philadelphia to Washington, where they conducted one of the largest acts of civil disobedience ever held at the Capitol. About 30 of these marchers slept on the pews and floor of our sanctuary, met with our youth, and were fed dinner and breakfast by our members.

Frances Moore Lappé, whose 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet argued that global food deficits are the result of food policies favoring meat production over human consumption of grains and vegetables, calls democracy “the mother of all issues.” She met Adam Eichen, 49 years her junior, during the Democracy Spring action. Their book brings together her long experience and his more recent activism, starting with the Occupy movement.

Daring Democracy starts with three powerful ideas:

  1. To fulfill every public need and to advance every public good, democracy is essential. None of our deepest needs can be served, nor our opportunities or threats met, without it.
  2. Genuine democracy is possible—democracy accountable to the people, not to narrow, private interests.
  3. There is a rewarding, even exhilarating role for each of us in making democracy real. The emerging bi-partisan democracy movement can meet our deep emotional needs. It may even be what our founders meant by our right to “the pursuit of happiness.”

You will learn from this book. Reading it together and discussing it in light of our Unitarian Universalist principles and values will deepen your commitment to this emerging movement.


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