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12 - Reimagined Democracy in Times of Pandemic

from Part III - Citizens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2020

Miguel Poiares Maduro
Affiliation:
European University Institute, Florence
Paul W. Kahn
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

Never before has a majority of humanity focused collectively and simultaneously on the most elementary gift of life: Breath. We watched as the most vulnerable gave out their last breath in droves. We watched out for each other’s breath. We watched for our kin and our neighbors and for the breath of strangers. We watched, as thousands of health workers around the world sacrificed their lives so that the rest of us could breath. And amid a universal lockdown, we watched a lone black man in Minneapolis breathe his last under the lockdown of a policeman oblivious to his haunting cry: I can’t breathe. In the months preceding this moment, we had willingly held our democratic breath, only for the urge to speak out to erupt again, on the part of populations grasping for air around the world. “If White People Didn’t Invent Air, What Would We Breathe?” echoes Dread Scott’s old ironic cry, bringing together those intertwined threads.

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Chapter
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Democracy in Times of Pandemic
Different Futures Imagined
, pp. 168 - 181
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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