What I Learned At the Grassroots Dayton Meeting

Interesting discussion at the Grassroots Dayton meeting last evening. The motto of Grassroots Dayton is “sowing the seeds of democracy.” The point I always return to is that democracy happens in community and the more authentic the community, the better the chance that democracy will be vigorous and will work to advance the common good. And so, as I said in this post, “How Grassroots Dayton Can Build Democracy By Building Community,” Grassroots Dayton should find ways to help strengthen and build authentic communities.

An ideal community, it seems to me, consists of people who know each other, respect each other, listen to each other, and together have the capacity for meaningful deliberation. A neighborhood may be a community, or it may not be, according to this definition. Congealing a community is a common aim or purpose shared by each member in the community. In a neighborhood, that is a community, the common aim simply might be to create a pleasant and safe neighborhood environment. In a company of soldiers, the common aim might be to mutually survive.

Community inspires creativity and problem solving; when individuals have a commitment to understand each other, a commitment to see the other’s point of view, then it really is true that many heads are better than one. The Beatles, in a sense, were a community, and worked together to accomplish a common aim. And the more they became an effective community the more they achieved their aim: to create extraordinary music.

The aim or purpose of Grassroots Dayton is, “to promote the development of citizen democracy in the Dayton region.” In order to move toward accomplishing this aim, Grassroots Dayton, itself, must become an inviting authentic community where individuals who long to see democracy in this region vitalized will want to belong and contribute. As Grassroots Dayton grows into community, it will grow toward accomplishing its aim.

We were four members strong last night at the Grassroots Dayton meeting at the Oakwood Library. Good discussion.

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