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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’s got simply released the next version of “Democracy just isn’t a Spectator Sport.” The engagement that is civic features 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 school dropouts in Harlem, became involved with American Jewish Congress and chaired its action that is social committee. He headed south utilizing the United states Legion Willard directly Post, supporting equal voting liberties for many People in the us (“We thought we settled that,” he stated regarding present assaults on voting rights), as well as 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 associated with the National Endowment when it comes to Humanities by President Bill Clinton, serving under five presidents in every.

J.: You start your guide by writing that election anxiety condition emerged into 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 numerous elections, is this 1 actually therefore essential?

Arthur Blaustein: I’ve been involved with every campaign that is presidential since 1960. Here is the many dangerous additionally the most terrifying. There were two terrifying periods in my own life — the very first had been the McCarthy age, the next had been the Cuban missile crisis. But this might be more harmful.

Why? One of several applicants, Donald Trump, may be the worst president we’ve ever had in the us. He could be a pathological liar and a sociopath, he’s 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 understands is exactly what he views on Fox Information.

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

It forced us to include in the introduction that is new governmental interpretation of the proceedings. Having taught for several these years, the theme that is central of training ended up being the necessity of democratic values and democracy into the U.S. But we now see democracy being subverted.

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

Jobs at a full time income wage, affordable medical care, the Supreme Court, the environmental surroundings and worldwide warming, honest federal federal federal government.

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

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

Democracy reaches stake. Should you want to turn this country right into a banana republic or fascist nation, don’t vote. If Trump wins you’re going to own competition wars in this nation, it will be such in pretty bad shape. It will be therefore dystopian. I’m actually a sort that is objective of, but I’m frightened.

You started volunteering in college and also have served a few presidents. Exactly what are a number of your many experiences that are memorable?

I obtained one thing out of each and every one. Under Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, we served in VISTA Volunteers in Service to America. That has been an eye fixed opener — how cruel poverty can be, and exactly how lots of people had been involved. Within the National Endowment when it comes to Humanities, We served in the general general public grants committee for museums, libraries, universities, public television and radio. We discovered a complete great deal about their value and value.

The time that is first volunteered was at university, in 1956, as a new Democrat. We agreed to just just take a lady around to talk. It absolutely was Eleanor Roosevelt. Which was a great experience.

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

Pupils are actually community that is doing in center schools, prep schools, high schools … Young folks are actually invested in civic engagement and democratic values and assisting this country. They’re more engaged, right down to 12 yrs old.

Does Judaism influence the way you’ve consumed your daily life?

It had a huge impact. The thought of justice, integrity of character, community — all of them are essential.

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