Vladimir Putin! Now you’ve really done it. You have had the temerity to declare our National Endowment for Democracy (NED), America’s most important Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to be “undesirable.” Where will this end? Don’t you respect our right, as a US Government-financed NGO, to meddle in internal Russian affairs? After all, we are the most important NGO of the world’s Sole Superpower. We can go wherever we want and do whatever we like. We are truly upset!
This is the clear reaction of Washington to the decision by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on July 28 to declare the activities of the US National Endowment for Democracy as “undesirable in the territory of Russia.”
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up