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It’s time for a more deliberative democracy

Long-time NCDD member and supporter John Gastil (you’ll remember him as our charming co-Emcee at the 2012 NCDD conference) had a great article up on the Philadelphia Inquirer website today titled A more deliberative democracy.

It begins “As the presidential campaign lurched toward its conclusion, one couldn’t help but despair. Debates were littered with falsehoods. The media batted at gaffes like distracted cats. And the candidates postured and re-postured in their efforts to win a slim majority.

All this detracted from the more profound purpose of voting, which should give the public an opportunity to study and weigh in on our most pressing issues. Even if it was a democratic election, it was not a deliberative one.

The idea of deliberating together has a long history that resonates with the best aspirations of our nation’s founders and the historical practice of self-government, from the ancient Greeks to the Iroquois. Some modern innovations provide glimpses of how we might reinvigorate the deliberative tradition.

One of the most promising contemporary institutions is the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review, which became a permanent part of the state’s electoral process under bipartisan legislation passed last year. The review convenes a demographically balanced, random sample of 24 citizens for weeklong deliberations on every state ballot measure…”

Read the full article at www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/177785131.html.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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