Monday, August 21, 2006


Is Democracy Dying?

Is Democracy Dying? I posed that question to and got back 12,100,000 responses with the same phrase. Folks are using this phrase in blogs, news stories, research papers -- everywhere. Red states, blue states, right, left and in the middle, all types of Americans seem concerned about the future of American democracy.

Research shows many Americans are turning away from public life, becoming spectators rather than participants in democracy. Increasingly, people say they are frustrated with politics and the seemingly insurmountable partisan divide.

Those involved in National Issues Forums (NIF) are committed to changing this trend by bringing people’s voices back into politics by involving citizens in deliberation and decision-making on local, national and global issues.

Most NIF issue books focus on a specific public issue. People learn about deliberation and think about democracy as they work through issues that are important to them.

This year, NIF is presenting an issue book entitled, "Democracy's Challenge: Reclaiming the Public's Role," which tackles the obstacles and issues people face in a democracy that appears to have nudged its citizens onto the sidelines.

The forum on democracy encourages citizens to think about what they can do to strengthen the relationship a democracy demands between the government and its people.

To download free materials for conducting an issue forum or group study using “Democracy’s Challenge,” visit

I heard the mermaids singing each to each,
And Shakespeare´s sonnets ringing (Stacy Keach)
But like a whale marooned upon a beach
You never heard blood-curdling such a screech.
Democracy is dying, O,
And men on shore are vying, O,
To get some blubber, blubber, blubber,--
Of that there´s no denying, O.

If human voices waked us and we drowned
Would it be perishing without a sound?
Would we be inhospitably dumbfound
To see it staked, harpooned, marooned and bound?
Democracy is dying, O,
From fraud, deceit and lying, O,
For souls no scrubber, scrubber, scrubber,
Though teeth will gnash midst sighing, O.

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