Ethics in Action & Democracy, with Ted Widmer, Carnegie-Uehiro Fellow

– [Announcer] For Global Ethics Day 2018, Carnegie Council staff and affiliates discuss ethics in action. (thoughtful music) – There are a few kinds
of policies I can think of that would help us get back
to a healthy democracy. I would love to see the Senate take
responsibility for democracy, and that’s where
bipartisanship should flourish. It isn’t really flourishing
there right now. But I’d love to see Republican
and Democratic lawmakers in the Senate in particular
convening commissions, working with House members, and trying to build some kind of harmony so that we can at least talk to each other again in reasonable ways and compromise the way
our system is supposed to. But a lot of this repair is
gonna be done at the local level and even at the individual level. I think people have to get
out there, certainly and vote, but work for candidates they believe in, ask a lot of questions. If they’re not satisfied with the answers, find other candidates. But we need to build our democracy
back one voter at a time. (thoughtful music) There are lots of ways I can think of bringing back ethics in action as it relates to democracy. I love town halls. I love seeing elected
officials coming back to the districts where
they’ve been elected from and just interacting with
ordinary constituents. Some do that more than others. But I think it’s an ethical
action to demand information, so I hope our citizens will
keep reading newspapers. Newspapers are very
important to democracy. Doesn’t mean you have to
believe every word you read, but to stay informed, including
about the minutiae of bills, how the money is being spent, who’s been hired for what
purpose in the executive branch. Just staying well-informed
is an ethical action. (thoughtful music) Everyday moral leadership in
democracy is really important. We don’t wanna wait four
years for an inaugural address to hear what’s happening in Washington. We want constant information
flowing both ways. So I think it is ethical
for our elected leaders to speak often and truthfully to us, including if they have
failed to get a bill through, to let us know what happened. I think it’s also ethical on their part to reach across the aisle. I’d like to see more Democrats
working with Republicans and definitely vice versa, but there’s a lot we can
do at the grassroots level to promote ethical democracy and I think it begins with
knowing where we are from, knowing our neighbors, talking
to people in the street, moms and dads talking to their kids, teachers talking to their
students about big issues, big issues relating to domestic policy and how much programs cost and how much we wanna take
care of our fellow citizens, but also relating to foreign policy and again to the cost and
the sacrifice involved. But democracy won’t work unless
the citizenry are involved, and they won’t be involved
unless they are informed, so we need information, even if it’s just talking with someone as you’re buying your
groceries at the supermarket. Democracy lives in the street. It lives in every human
interaction all day long. (thoughtful music)

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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