Hark!

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Dear Market community,

The work that all of you do to offer physical comfort as well to create deeper connections may not be noted every week but I hope that you are sure that it results in great things. Those great things revolve around the market’s vital role as the town square which we talk about often on this blog but still may take in stride too easily. No matter how you feel about recent events, it is clear that democracy is in fragile shape. What too many Americans think of as their only duty as citizens begins and ends on election day; After that is done, the other activity is focused on name-calling and silly memes on social media. If that is the sum of one’s civic engagement, the result is often naive cynicism, an unhealthy view of others and a further tearing of the fabric of democracy.

How else can we help democracy prosper but by thoroughly shaking out and airing ones citizenship in public regularly? And when we talk about doing this in public, we cannot mean those narrow retail aisles where one or two corporations have decided that only some are welcome,  valued mostly by the largeness of their purchases. In these restricted places, too many of our neighbors are left out. Those neighbors need to be allowed in AND allowed to find real ways to engage as citizens too.

Because citizenship is not the same as consumerism, even though many confuse the two.

Or as Wendell Berry says, “I think an economy should be based on thrift, on taking care of things, not on theft, usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.”

In answer to that, you’ve designed markets to not only be about the buying and selling of well-made thrifty items, but also about the sharing of ideas and talents used for the safeguarding of our shared and precious resources; an economy of taking care of things and of each other.

That makes you the mayors and leading citizens of your village, creating an town square of good, busily entertaining strangers who may be some of those angels unaware.

So here’s to your health in the New Year to able to do even more of it.

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