Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Democratic renewal reading

If there's anything about the CIW's report and recommendations on democratic engagement that might be worth questioning, it's the focus on ease of involvement rather than perceived benefits of involvement. That strikes me as missing a significant part of the problem: while there have been some roadblocks to participation on the voting front, I'd think the general rule is that the political parties make it fairly easy for anybody wanting to vote, volunteer or otherwise get involved to do so.

Instead, the more important issue seems to be a perceived lack of ability to make a difference by actually putting in the effort. And it seems far too plausible that a focus on process rather than the ability to influence substantive outcomes might only give a free pass to the culture of top-down control.

That quibble aside, the materials are still well worth a read - particularly at a time when there's a strong opportunity to actually push for a more responsive political system. And hopefully by the next time the CIW does such a survey, we'll have some more positive trends to point to.

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