Thursday, February 22, 2007


Common Ground for Revitalizing Democracy

Remember, these comments come from the summary report on the democracy forums held nationwide last year. The authors of the guide conclude the summary report but asking if there was any common ground among participants?

Yes. Forum participants shared these understandings:

• Something is fundamentally wrong with the way we live and that what’s wrong relates to what’s going on in Washington.
• People are less connected to their communities than they used to be, a reality that negatively affects not only the quality of life but also the democracy.
• People want public officials to be more accountable, but lack a clear sense about how to accomplish that goal.
• Many saw no entry point by which they could make a difference, especially in terms of national politics.
• People want to be more than passive spectators; they want to be deciders instead of bystanders, they want to have their voices legitimized and their concerns validated.
• Even some civically active participants professed to being shut out of venues they assumed to be “public spaces.”
• People yearn for something that’s been lost in public life and want to break down the isolation. They are looking for the ties that bind in a democratic society, a greater sense of “being in this together.”
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