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

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

Blaustein began volunteering in university and got hooked. He taught college 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 legal rights for several 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 ended up being appointed towards the nationwide Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity by President Jimmy Carter, and also to the board associated with the National Endowment when it comes to 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 in danger. You’ve been through numerous elections, is that one actually therefore essential?

Arthur Blaustein: I’ve been involved with every presidential campaign period since 1960. Here is the many dangerous plus the most terrifying. There has been two terrifying periods in my own life — the very first ended up being the McCarthy age, the next had been the Cuban missile crisis. But this is certainly more threatening.

Why? Among the prospects, Donald Trump, could be the worst president we’ve ever had in the us. He’s 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 could be planning to do. He understands absolutely absolutely nothing about US history, American values, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. All he understands is exactly what he views on Fox News.

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

It forced me to use in the brand new introduction a governmental interpretation of the proceedings. Having taught for several these years, the main theme of my training ended up being the necessity of democratic values and democracy towards the U.S. But we currently see democracy being subverted.

In your guide 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 surroundings and international warming, honest federal 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)

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

Democracy has reached stake. If you’d like to turn this nation into a banana republic or fascist nation, don’t vote. If Trump wins you’re going to possess battle 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 now have served a few presidents. Exactly what are some of your many experiences that are memorable?

I obtained 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 poverty that is cruel be, and exactly how lots of people were involved. Within the National Endowment when it comes to Humanities, We served in the general general general public funds committee for museums, libraries, universities, general public television and radio. We discovered a complete great deal about their value and value.

The first-time we volunteered was at university, in 1956, as a new Democrat. We agreed to just simply simply take a female around to talk. It absolutely was Eleanor Roosevelt. That has been an incredible experience.

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

Pupils are now actually community that is doing in center schools, prep schools, high schools … Young folks are actually focused on civic engagement and democratic values and helping this nation. They’re more engaged, down seriously to 12 yrs . old.

Does Judaism influence the way you’ve drawn in yourself?

It had an effect that is big. advance payday loans online New Mexico The thought of justice, integrity of character, community — they all are crucial.