Susan Griffin writes in her 2008 book Wrestling With The Angel of Democracy, “…whenever you restore what has been excluded or repressed from your mind, you also rekindle the vitality of your thought.”

Though the consequences are often concealed, exclusion has a deadening effect on our conscience, our affect. Whether we are talking about rape, race or religion, when we leave  our hearts out of the equation, when we distill a thing beyond its essence, we loose our morality.

Today new ways to read, to learn, to listen and be heard are invented and manufactured every second. We have i-Everything, Kindles, Nooks and all manner of distribution of ideas and images. No image will make us a better person, a wiser neighbor by itself. We must create our own humanity in every moment.

In this moment of democratic trials it is often hard to find democracy. Where in all the talk is freedom, where the Declaration of Independence? Emerson said, “you must Be the Declaration of Independence.”  Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Be Peace” has been a slogan and call to action.

Where are we if we are not “here now?” Where are our hearts and minds when we speak glibly of rape or inequity of pay or opportunity? Where is freedom if we are denied choice or we cannot love and marry who we choose? Where is liberty when we are denied the basic justice that comes from someone listening to us?

Who says all this and who listens? We become numb to inequality. We loose ourselves in vapid debate. We repeat and hear repetition, say what has been said to us, losing our souls in the process.

Let us not turn our hearts where our minds go. Let’s look ourselves in the eye and say, “I am intelligent with my heart and mind, I am curious and without judgement, I am loving and I don’t leave myself out of any of it.”

John Franklin Stephens, a young man with Down syndrome published this letter to Ann Coulter. It is a must-read!

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