time again for civic courage

The day after the 2016 election, I posted a blog entitled “Time for Civic Courage” that seemed to strike a chord; it was shared much more than I’m used to. I mainly wrote it for people like myself– those who would not face much personal risk under Trump but who needed to step up. Compared to our fellow human beings, Americans have more leverage over the US government, and we had to protect them by resisting here. I wrote: “no jokes about moving to Canada. No thoughts about giving up on the nation you belong to, even if its majority and its institutions anger you.┬áNo opting out.”

On Election Day 2020, I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome, sharing the conventional view that Biden has roughly a 90% chance of winning, and even a 30% chance of a landslide. But there is certainly a risk of another Trump win. And it is now–not after a loss–when we should pledge Civic Courage. Regardless of what happens, we Americans must keep working and struggling for justice and peace. We’ll need plenty of courage and perseverance even if the election turns out well; and if not–that’s the time to show civic character.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.