What Can I Do as a Citizen?
As a citizen, you have the responsibility to express your views through your voice and your vote. You also have the power to shape your country by bringing an integrated partnership perspective to all issues.
“Consider what critical role you could have in influencing policy that would support and solidify the value of care giving and of nonviolent action in your community”.
—Ginger Garner, caring economy leader and previous North Carolina state senator candidate
Making the Personal Political
Why do people vote for “strong” leaders who condone violence, debase women, and stoke fear and scapegoating? The partnership/domination lens answers this question. It helps us understand what motivates anti-democratic impulses, since it takes into account the connection between politics and economics (the so-called public sphere), and what children first experience and observe in their family and other intimate relations (the so-called private sphere).
Connecting the dots between people’s childhood and gender relations, on the one hand, and the kind of economics and politics a society supports, on the other, makes it possible for you to identify the otherwise hidden levers for building a caring democracy.
- Although many people still dismiss investment in good parenting and quality early childhood experiences as “just women’s and children’s issues,” improving the quality of children’s lives is a cornerstone of a partnership society and a thriving 21st century economy.
- We have inherited a gendered system of values in which anything associated with the “soft” or “feminine” is considered less important than anything associated with “real masculinity” and this only changes as the status of women rises.
- Gender equality is key to a more just politics and economics. When superior/inferior gender relationships are considered normal and moral, this leaves half of humanity without a full seat at the table of democracy, and skews the range of issues that get brought to the table.
- Domination systems scapegoat out-groups (not only women, but people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, etc) as in anti-immigrant rhetoric, for example. Throughout history, this tactic of out-group scapegoating has been used to stoke fear and justify authoritarian, top-down power and violence.
- When there are immigrants from more domination-oriented cultures, the issue is not whether they should have asylum, but how can we best help them move toward partnership values? And how can we celebrate the contributions of those who bring partnership values with them?
Things to Do
- Read Building a Caring Democracy: Four Cornerstones for an Integrated Progressive Agenda by Riane Eisler, Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies.
- Watch Cornerstones of Democracy talk
- Learn about the Social Wealth Index, a comprehensive metric of the economic value of the work of caring for people and nature.
- Consult the Partnership Voting Guide
- Read The Promise of Centering Childhood in Social Justice Education by David Metler