Q&A: He’s served presidents, and now he’s serving democracy

Q&A: He’s served presidents, and now he’s serving democracy

Arthur Blaustein, 87, is passionate about community solution. Now resigned following a long tenure as teacher of community development, politics and public policy at UC Berkeley, he has got simply released the 3rd version of “Democracy isn’t a Spectator Sport.” The engagement that is civic carries a conversation of community solution, inspirational tales, businesses with volunteer possibilities, and a preface imploring individuals to get involved with the 2020 election campaign.

Blaustein started volunteering in university and got hooked. He taught college dropouts in Harlem, became involved with American Jewish Congress and chaired its social action committee. He headed south with all the United states Legion Willard directly Post, supporting voting that is equal for many People in the us (“We idea we settled that,” he stated regarding present assaults on voting liberties), plus in 1965 marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Blaustein had been appointed into the nationwide Advisory Council on Economic chance by President Jimmy Carter, also to the board regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities by President Bill Clinton, serving under five presidents in most.

J.: You start your guide by writing that election anxiety condition emerged within the 2016 election period and it is “on the rise,” and describe the slide that is“long the slippery slope of anti-democratic policies and behavior” that put our democracy at an increased risk. You’ve been through many elections, is that one actually therefore essential?

Arthur Blaustein: I’ve been taking part in every campaign that is presidential since 1960. This is actually the many dangerous and also the most terrifying. There were two terrifying periods during my life — the very first had been the McCarthy age, the next had been the missile crisis that is cuban. But this can be more threatening.

Why? One of several prospects, Donald Trump, may be the worst president we’ve ever had in the usa. He could be a pathological liar and a sociopath, he could be unstable … and that’s a combination that is deadly. You don’t know very well what he’s planning to do. He understands absolutely nothing about US history, American values, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. All he knows is really what he views on Fox Information.

Exactly exactly How did Trump’s election effect your writing?

It forced me personally to use in the introduction that is new governmental interpretation of the proceedings. Having taught for many these years, the theme that is central of training ended up being the significance of democratic values and democracy to your U.S. But we now see democracy being subverted.

In your guide you list 25 reasons why you should vote. Just exactly just exactly What you think would be the top five?

Jobs at an income wage, affordable medical care, the Supreme Court, environmental surroundings and international warming, honest federal federal government.

A Arthur that is young Blaustein component within the Selma Civil Rights marches in 1965. (Photo/Courtesy Blaustein)

Just exactly exactly just What can you tell those people who are disillusioned and want to sit out of the Nov. 3 election?

Democracy are at stake. If you’d like to turn this nation in to a banana republic or fascist nation, don’t vote. If Trump wins you’re going to possess competition wars in this nation, it’s going to be such in pretty bad shape. It might payday loans CT be therefore dystopian. I’m actually a sort that is objective of, but I’m frightened.

You started volunteering in college while having served presidents that are several. Exactly what are a handful of your many experiences that are memorable?

I acquired one thing from every one. Under Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, we served in VISTA Volunteers in Service to America. That has been a watch opener — how cruel poverty can be, and just how many individuals had been involved. within the National Endowment when it comes to Humanities, we served regarding the general public funds committee for museums, libraries, universities, general public television and radio. We discovered great deal about their value and value.

The first-time we volunteered was at university, in 1956, as a new Democrat. We wanted to simply just just take a lady around to talk. It absolutely was Eleanor Roosevelt. Which was an experience that is amazing.

What’s the ongoing state of civic participation and volunteerism in this nation?

Pupils are actually doing community service in center schools, prep schools, high schools … Young folks are actually devoted to civic engagement and democratic values and assisting this nation. They’re more engaged, right down to 12 years old.

Does Judaism influence the direction you’ve drawn in your lifetime?

It possessed an effect that is big. The thought of justice, integrity of character, community — they all are essential.

Dodano: 14 December 2020
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