By Sister Barbara Hudock, ASC

On the day of our Presidential Election hangover, as we ponder what the results mean for our country’s future, I direct you to writer and sociologist Parker Palmer’s “Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy.”

In order for American politics to become healthy, we must return to the first home of democracy, the human heart, he writes.

“The heart is where we integrate what we know in our minds with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human.”

His five habits for healing the heart of democracy are:

  • an understanding that we are all in this together
  • an appreciation of the value of “otherness”
  • an ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
  • a sense of personal voice and agency
  • a capacity to create community

Palmer writes: “If I were asked for two words to summarize the habits of the heart American citizens need in response to 21st Century conditions, I would choose chutzpah and humility.

“By chutzpah, I mean knowing that I have a voice that needs to be heard and the right to speak it. By humility, I mean accepting the fact that my truth is always partial and may not be true at all, so I need to listen with openness and respect, especially to “the other,” as much as I need to speak my own voice with clarity and conviction.”

American life and politics? We are definitely all in this together.