- Purchase/rental options available:
Our nation is experiencing a convergence of social, political, and structural forces that threaten our democracy. Acknowledging our current moment, this article discusses the idea of "civic renaissance" as a movement to transform social and institutional life by regaining trust and friendship among the American people. Civic renaissance as a social movement stands in contrast to other social movements in that it focuses on means rather than ends of political engagement as the ultimate goal. Drawing on examples of nonviolent traditions lead by Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi, this article explores the power of constructive nonviolence in catalyzing individuals, organizations, and institutions to serve the common good. A contemporary expression of these ideals and practices is seen in the work of Braver Angels, America's largest bi-partisan organization dedicated to the work of political depolarization. In describing the goals and initiatives of this organization, this essay articulates the hope, challenges, and possibilities of developing a "beloved community" that binds Americans together in creating and sustaining a common life. The idea of civic renaissance—building community and restoring integrity to our institutions—is an idea well suited to addressing the problems facing the United States in our current moment.