Democracy needs support
class of '92
I am writing to voice my strong support for Paul Graham's April 24 article regarding the importance of democracy in the workplace and at Notre Dame.
As I have argued in my lectures over the year, one key element of the core values of the United States is the belief in democracy. However, participants in my courses on the history of modern United States foreign and domestic policy have witnessed the continuing challenge of achieving that important goal. As Graham points out, the struggle of workers in the United States to gain a voice and influence the development of their society is an ongoing effort.
The challenge to establish an open democracy at Notre Dame extends not only to the workers, but also to the faculty and students. Whether discussing the question of faculty governance or the rights of students to organize dances and their residence lives, the democratic challenge clearly emerges at the center of these issues. Graham's challenge to the students to open their hearts and minds to the workers can be combined with a broader challenge to expand the role of the Notre Dame family in the development of our University.
Through supporting the growth of democracy at home, we can help to prevent its subversion abroad. Anti-democratic forces dominate the globe and emerge even where democracy has found root. Democracy remains a fragile system and only through constant expansion and revitalization can it be maintained. It is only by expanding our democracies at home and abroad that we can meet the challenge of anti-democratic forces.
Democracy does not guarantee a better society, but it presents us with the widest array of probabilities for progress. We can begin that progress through the support of the workers' right to influence their work place. I second Graham's call for expanded participation of all those who, as Joe Larson points out on the opposite page, make this place special. I urge the students to consider themselves as part of the process of defining their society both at the University and beyond it.
class of '92
visting lecturer in the history department
April 24, 2002
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, April 25, 2002