Redesigning American Democracy: On Stacy Abrams’ “Our Time is Now”
On building a system where everyone has a voice.
Who deserves to be a part of our society?
Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams is a scrupulously detailed text on today’s unique opportunity in American society. By unpacking the value of identity politics, emoting the crushing experience of her 2018 Georgia election, and interweaving stories of lost opportunity, she makes the case for rebuilding the voting system into one that represents the umbrella of American experience.
As expected, the victory of the 2020 election wasn’t a simple exercise in politics-as-usual. As discussed by Abrams, powerful people have consistently and systematically developed a politics of exclusion. The people who are growing to represent American society — women, people of color, and people of society — have consistently harder paths to make their voices heard in U.S. politics.
This includes nearly every touchpoint of the existing system: the census, voter registration, getting to the polls, the expansion of nationalistic and supremacist populism, who represents which locations, and much more.
The vast majority of political decisions have caused the where it’s increasingly more difficult to affect the people in power.
Fortunately, extensive and in-depth organizing against those powers has given us another chance. More than anything, the invisible inequities in our system have come to the front stage: the workers who make the economy run, how the stock market doesn’t represent the United States economy, about which people in the world get the vaccine, and who bears the brunt of the psychological problems.
What lesson do I take home, as a designer? There is power in expanding power. Abrams makes a comprehensive case to discuss how when developing a better world, rebuilding the patchwork of voice, agency, and community engagement are essential. Design strategy methods allow for us to ask critical questions about the process of creation, to make better decisions about who’s involved.