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What's got MDC buzzing? 'Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth'

What's got MDC buzzing? 'Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth'

  • We’ve elected to leave out election results coverage, but did find these pieces on poverty and the 2012 campaigns (and one with E.B. White on democracy) interesting. In the Christian Science Monitor, Eric Spanberg explores the history of presidential politics and the prevalence—or absence—of substantive discussions about poverty. And in this op-ed, Sandra Strauss makes the case for increasing media attention and thoughtful conversations about increasing inequity. She even suggests taking these conversations to Twitter using the Half in Ten campaign’s #talkpoverty hashtag.
  • This week, Peter Edelman, law professor and co-director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, shared his thoughts on realigning priorities for disconnected youth in the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity newsletter. Edelman recommends more collaboration between federal agencies with responsibility for youth programming—like the Department of Labor and the Department of Education—and ensuring that the programming blends education and work, beginning in high school. This federal focus has to be paired with community action “to build a system in each local area that asks what has to be done to help all young people succeed, and coming as close to zero as humanly possible in how many young people it loses.” Edelman presented similar ideas at an MDC event in May of this year. You can view the webcast here.
  • Here’s one way the USDOL Employment and Training Administration is trying to help young people get the information they need about careers: Youth Connections. The new website offers resources for workforce system professionals who are looking for ways to introduce youth to emerging industries and sort out the kinds of credentials they’ll need to qualify for work in those industries.
  • Looking for a movie this weekend? How ‘bout Brooklyn Castle? This new documentary in theaters now tells “the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories.” At the very least, you should watch the trailer to improve your chess game and restore your hope in kids today.
  • So, we said no election coverage, but as we turn from elections to the day-to-day of making things work, here are some inspiring words on democracy, courtesy of  NPR’s Melissa Block and E.B. White. This week, Block was reminded of an E.B. White New Yorker editorial from July 1943, a response to a request from the Writer’s War Board, a domestic propaganda machine during World War II. The board had asked for a statement on the meaning of democracy. This is how White replied:

It is presumably our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure. Surely, the board knows what democracy is. It is the line that forms on the right. It is the don’t in don’t shove. It is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles; the dent in the high hat.

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is the letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of the morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is.