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 having a tenure that is long teacher of community development, politics and public policy at UC Berkeley, he’s got simply released the 3rd edition of “Democracy just isn’t a Spectator Sport.” The engagement that is civic carries a conversation of community solution, inspirational tales, businesses with volunteer possibilities, and a preface imploring visitors to try the 2020 election campaign.

Blaustein started 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 because of the United states Legion Willard directly Post, supporting equal voting liberties 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 to your nationwide Advisory Council on Economic chance by President Jimmy Carter, and also to the board regarding 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 when you look at 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 taking part in every campaign that is presidential since 1960. This is basically the many dangerous therefore the most terrifying. There has been two terrifying periods in my own life — the very first had been the McCarthy age, the next had been the missile crisis that is cuban. But this really is more threatening.

Why? Among the applicants, Donald Trump, could be the worst president we’ve ever had in america. He’s a pathological liar and a sociopath, he could be unstable … and that’s a lethal combination. You don’t understand what he could be planning to do. He understands absolutely nothing about US history, American values, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. All he understands is really what he views on Fox Information.

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

It forced me personally to use in the introduction that is new governmental interpretation of what is happening. Having taught for several these years, the main theme of my teaching had been the significance 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. Exactly exactly What you think would be the top five?

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

A young Arthur Blaustein took component into the Selma Civil Rights marches in 1965. (Photo/Courtesy Blaustein)

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

Democracy has reached stake. If you wish to turn this nation in to 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 goal kind of man, but I’m frightened.

You started volunteering in college and also have served presidents that are several. What exactly are some 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. Which was a watch opener — how poverty that is cruel be, and exactly how many individuals had been included. Within the National Endowment when it comes to Humanities, we served in the general public funds committee for museums, libraries, universities, general general public television and radio. We discovered great deal about their payday loans New Hampshire value and value.

The very first time we volunteered was at university, in 1956, as a new Democrat. We wanted to just simply just take a lady around to talk. It absolutely was Eleanor Roosevelt. That has been a fantastic 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 nation. They’re more engaged, down seriously to 12 yrs . old.

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

It possessed a large impact. The thought of justice, integrity of character, community — they all are crucial.

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