Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy

Suzette Brooks Masters and Ruby Hernandez
Date of Publication: 
January, 2022
Source Organization: 

A more promising future for Americans requires bold, disruptive thinking, resolve and action. However, in order to get to that positive future, many obstacles need to be overcome, including the despair and defeatism that seems to grip many Americans today. These conclusions appear in a report from the Better Futures Project titled Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy, which draws on input from dozens of “visionary thinkers and doers…including futurists, activists, thought leaders, creatives, artists, religious leaders and funders.” The report explains why positive visioning matters, how those visions of better futures relate to democracy and governance systems, and how we can inspire more Americans to “dream bigger and develop a sense of agency to bring those ideas to fruition.” Only in this way can we break out the present “cycle of reaction and opposition, which entrenches polarization and shrinks the realm of possibility.” This type of visioning also enables us to build a unified society that combats racism and nativism. The report is intended to “encourage a wide range of civil society actors to want to become part of a burgeoning positive visioning community – one capable of mobilizing and engaging growing numbers of people to realize better futures, including a robust, effective and healthy democracy” The authors describe creative work being undertaken in Europe that might serve as a model for the U.S. They also make a number of recommendations, including “strengthening the positive visioning ecosystem by investing in infrastructure and relationships” and funding innovative efforts, especially at the state and local level, to strengthen democracy.

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Masters, S. B. & Hernandez, R. (2022). Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy. Better Futures Project & Democracy Funders Network.