Following are changes to drafts of Americans for Humanity: A Declaration that were suggested and my replies (in italics):
I do have trouble with the "tyranny of the majority" line. I know what you mean and agree with your intent but this is also a right wing Trumpian phrase used to justify voter suppression. Too easily misunderstood.
I deleted that phrase.
I could sign it if it were edited to qualify the language in the item that references pressuring the government to implement policies supported by “strong majorities” so that we are *explicitly* here talking about “dignity-based,” “humanity-based” or otherwise valued-aligned policies backed by strong majorities. As you know, majorities are sometimes part of the problem in a democratic society (as regards unpopular or vulnerable minorities).
Good point about majorities. Previously I’ve qualified the idea with “compassionate,” but overlooked the issue this time. Does that work? That word is used elsewhere only once, so using it here would not be too redundant. It would read: “pressures Washington to implement compassionate policies supported by strong majorities of the American people.”
I would be happy to sign it, but would strongly encourage that we include something like commit to living in a world where the US ends all the wars and threats of wars the US is involved in around the world and sign and agrees to the abide by the international treaty to abolish all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth, and agree to commit to solving all disputes by mediation, negotiation and justice for all parties in all conflicts.
[NOTE: This comment led to a series of exchanges. Eventually I added to the Declaration: “encourages supportive relationships with other countries, backs their right to self-determination, promotes human rights, and advocates peaceful resolution of conflicts with mediation and negotiation”
Thank you for circulating your positive suggestions. Most of them resonate with me. I have offered a few edits and comments below — I hope constructive — in the spirit of acquiring broader support for your agenda.
Examine myself honestly and improve my emotional reactions, such as channelling anger more productively.
Welcome support from others. [I would add this one as the beginning of the statement below that starts with “Encourage the growth of a popular movement…]
Affirm personal identities based on characteristics such as race and gender. [I see this statement as contradicting other statements such as “respect the essential equality of all human beings,” “human family,”etc.]
Oppose efforts to dominate others due to their ascribed or chosen identities.
Channel anger productively.
Honor America’s achievements, criticize its failures, and help realize its ideals. [Why America here but US in the next?]
Thanks much. Very helpful. I thought long and hard about your comment on personal identities. I decided the wording was wrong. It suggested the affirmation of identities based only or primarily on a specific characteristic, which is problematic. As I discuss in “Multiple Identities, Politics, Freedom, and Equality,” I think that exclusive approach is wrong. So the declaration now reads:
encourages everyone to identify as a member of the human family
affirms individuals’ multiple identities
opposes efforts to dominate others due to one of their identities
Please let me know if you have a problem with that. Concerning your first point, I prefer short bullet points. I use both the U.S. and America partly to avoid repetition and partly because I prefer to use the U.S. whenever that works, for “America” can refer to more than the U.S. Thanks again!
Thanks, good compromise. I will look up the piece you wrote.
All noble goals....except that "big money out of politics." So, where does "big" begin? Who decides...a rich man or poor man? And should we cap the amount a candidate can spend...or any third-parties which would support their candidacy? It makes for a great bumper sticker...but upon closer examination is more like the beautiful golf drive is really, REALLY long....and looks really good...until it turns and lands in the top of a yucca plant. To be a noble goal, it cannot be illegal or immoral. :-) PS Best wishes for the new year and keep up the good work.
Good points. My basic intent was to articulate fundamental principles in one page and avoid another “laundry list.” So your comments led me to delete “get big money out of politics.”
I like it overall. I would have difficulty forming small teams just now. Maybe that could be a question at the end rather than a signed pledge.
I modified it to clarify that small groups would be an option.