Re: DSM: Is democracy for everyone?

rhonda goebel (
Thu, 05 Aug 1999 07:26:00 +0000

R - Scott, Tell your father that I appreciate his research. It has been
essential in my thesis work. And it's nice to meet you too. I slept on
your responses, and woke up this morning with the following thoughts.

S - A person who is incapable of behaving himself in
> the theater, or who might hurt him/herself in the theater, is kicked out of the
> theater.

R - Kicked out of a space, but not kicked out of the country. My
perception is that SVS is analogous to a community or a country with
democracy in action, not a specific space like a theatre. Ideally in a
democratic country, when citizens have needs, the communities pull
together to meet those needs so that person may still be a member. If
communities just kicked out their needy, what kind of world would we
have? What kind of people would we be?

S - A person who has a physical handicap is advised against going to a

R - Our country seems to be working on making places accessible to all
people so that one day these limitations may not serve as obstacles for

S - If a person is
> afraid of the outdoors, then s/he really should not become a boy/girl scout.

R - But if that person wants help in overcoming that fear, wouldn't it
be nice if there were compassionate people in the community to help them

S - > But sometimes life is unfair, and NO institution can help
everybody. For
> example, last week I catered a meal for 40 people, including a couple who were
> lactose intolerant, two who were diabetic, one who cannot eat foods with
> potassium, and a few who were kosher. I had to tell a couple of them "sorry, no
> dessert for you".

R - This was a one time deal, and you had no prior notice. But if they
were entering your community, would you continue to serve desserts they
could not eat, or would you adapt to meet their needs?

S - > Democracy is not possible for every adult. A person in a coma is
not able to
> register to vote, nor would there be any way to accommodate her/him in the
> polling place.

R - Because this person cannot vote, does this mean that this person in
a coma is no longer a member of a community? If a democratic community
limits its membership to those who can be active politically, what kind
of community is it? Can you image this school on a larger scale, when a
person is unable to vote, they get kicked out of the country? When your
mother has a stroke, you have to decide what other country is
compassionate enough to take her, because we cannot accomodate for her
new needs here in our country. I don't define a democracy as a place
where people are included if they are self-sufficient enough to not
depend on others too much. I define democracy as a place where people
come together, live together, and respect everyone's right to have a
voice to the extent that they are able, a place where every person is

S - > That said, it is important to remember that Sudbury Valley can and
> accommodate a very wide range of people. But as an institution with a limited
> budget,

R - This brings us back to the issue of funding. How can we, as a
people, come up with the money that allows us to include everybody?

Scott, I think the dialogue we are having is critical to understanding
who we are, as well as reflectively becoming who we want to be. I want
you to know that the paralinguistics behind my communication, which are
absent in this form of dialogue, are filled with respect for your views.


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