September 6, 2011
At this critical moment in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good.
Building on his decades of social activism and inner life exploration, Palmer examines ways to restore the invisible infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach, he does here for citizens by seeking answers to democracy’s dilemmas within us and between us. He points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of creativity and courage still found among “We the People.”
“Democracy…” writes Palmer, “is a nonstop experiment in the strength and weakness of our political institutions, our local communities and associations, and the human heart…” The demographic experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart’s alchemy that can turn suffering into community, conflict into the energy of activity, intention into an opening toward the common good.”
Palmer names the “habits of the heart” we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. He proposes practical, promising ways to hold the tensions of our differences for the sake of restoring a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Parker J. Palmer’s writing speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. Author of nine books – including the bestsellers The Courage to Teach, Let Your Life Speak, and A Hidden Wholeness –– Palmer is the founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal.. His work has been recognized with ten honorary doctorates and many national awards, including the 2010 William Rainey Harper Award, previously won by Margaret Mead, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel.