People are yearning for authentic engagement. Although deliberation is hard work, it leads to much-needed rewards.
Democracy is a “we,” not a “they.” Especially at the local level, inclusion does not simply mean everyone is “represented,” it means offering authentic opportunities for people to be involved individually and personally.
Clark and Teachout see three alarming trends occurring in industrial society. Both public resources and governance decisions are moving towards increasing centralization and privatization.
Is there anything less popular among Americans than their own government?
Whether you are an aging activist, annoyed elected official, or aggrieved citizen, the recently published Slow Democracy is the elixir for returning citizens to their rightful role in self governance. Our country was founded on participatory democracy. It has largely devolved into a faux democracy where we elect others to “represent” us. And when they don’t, we scream, march, blog, and organize in order to be heard. Such blunt instruments may produce short term results but they also leave permanent scars that divide our communities.
If you look closely, you’ll see that local government is not just something you need to get around and that you don’t, in fact, have to fight City Hall. Indeed, City Hall may be just waiting for you to walk through the front door and take your place as an active citizen.
Vermonter Susan Clark has co-authored the new book, Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, Eric Becker is Chief Investment Officer at Clean Yield Asset Management in Norwich, on how to invest your money in local businesses, and how local businesses can attract local investment, and VBSR’s Scott Buckingham previewed next week’s VBSR conference.
What we have now is the McDonald’s of democracy.