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Two Women & a Republic Blog Officially Launches

We are excited to share that NCDD board member, Wendy Willis, recently launched a blog in collaboration with Paula Ellis called, Two Women & a Republic: Letters to Democracy between friends. The site is a correspondence between the two women, focused on exploring the heart of democracy and the ways in which we can bring about a more humane democratic experience. We encourage you to check out their weekly musings which you can find on their beautiful new website here, created by NCDD co-founder Andy Fluke. You can read the inaugural blog post below or find the original on the Two Women & a Republic site here.


In Search of a Benevolent Form or Snipping and Shaping for Democracy

From Wendy Willis…

Well, here we are! After months of planning and talking and dreaming, we have finally arrived at launch day for our new labor of love, Two Women and a Republic.

In fact, now that I look at the calendar, I realize that this is a project 53 weeks in the making. Paula and I met last January—January 18, if I am not mistaken—at the Kettering Foundation Annual Retreat. There was a huge room of some of the nations’s smartest smarties offering thoughts and provocations about the state of citizen-centered democracy. After a back and forth about what could and should be done at a really critical moment for the country (and the world), Paula raised her hand and suggested (both brilliantly and understatedly): “What if we created a Brainpickings for democracy?” Well, that was an idea I had never heard before, so at the next break, I hot-footed it right over there and said: “Let’s do it.” We’ve been writing and talking and Skyping ever since. And once in a great while, we even get to see each other in person!

One of the things we realized in these months of conversation is that there are many opportunities to talk about the mechanics of democracy—the institutions, the legal bases, the processes. And believe me, both Paula and I talk about all those things, with each other and with others. But we also share a desire to talk with somebody about the culture of democracy or about what we might dare to call the heart of democracy. We’re interested in the habits and quirks and daily practices that might lead us to a more humane and democratic society. Or at least to a more humane and democratic hour.

There is also something attractive to us about the letter form, arcane as it might be. At the moment, I am binge-reading the novelist and critic, Elizabeth Hardwick, and this is what she had to say about letter-writing:

Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose. . . .In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires — this is a benevolent form.

So even if we don’t begin each post with a “dear” and end it with a “very truly yours,” we think of these offerings as letters—letters to each other, letters to democracy, letters to those of you who might find your way here.

Though we are reluctant to make promises, we hope to post something new here each week, even if it’s just a quote or a provocation. Sometimes, we’ll write something longer. But we want to hear from you, too. We want to know what you’re thinking about and worrying over and dreaming into being. Comment here, post on our Facebook page, write us emails. Follow us on Instagram. It’s all a work in progress, but more than anything, we want to nurture a little community here amongst the letters.

Even as we’re just getting started, we have some people to thank. First, big thanks to Andy Fluke for his patience with us as he built our beautiful website. And to the good folks at Kettering who put us in the same place at the same time. And to our friends and family who listened to us fuss over what this project could be. And thanks to you for showing up here–right at the beginning–trusting that when women get together, something’s bound to happen.

You can read the original version of this post on the Two Women & a Republic site at www.twowomenandarepublic.com/2018/01/24/weve-moved-to-a-new-office/.

Paula Ellis also wrote a piece, “Our Eclectic Stew of Ideas” which you can read on the Two Women & a Republic site by clicking here.

Keiva Hummel
Keiva Hummel serves as NCDD’s Communications Coordinator. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Global Peace, Human Rights and Justice Studies, and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution Studies.

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