Missions in politics require both individuals and movements to achieve change.

0470590807“Palmer is at his best in his treatment of individual spiritual development and the circles of trust that can extend that development into group life . . . Changing hearts one at a time is always important, but one book, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, changed the hearts of millions of white Americans who were unsympathetic to slavery but not yet seriously engaged in ending it . . . My point is that historical, cultural and social forces that do not work primarily at the level of individuals and small groups are also essential to an understanding of democracy, including the heart of democracy . . . it is not unfair to point out that concentrating on individuals and face-to-face groups while largely ignoring the larger historical currents of culture and society can encourage the kind of individualistic approach to social problems that is all too evident in American society—the kind of approach that  can actually inhibit change rather than move us in a better direction.”

[From Robert N. Bellah’s review of Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit by Parker J. Palmer (Jossey-Bass)]