Participating in Our Democracy

David Kennedy: Well I think individually, if we believe in the notion of democracy, as I do hope and trust citizens of this country do, I think what we must do is be well informed and engaged in the deliberative process that gives us the policies, and the practices, and the habits that we will all adopt going forward. And they’ll either be adopted with our participation, or without. And I have to believe that the policy . . . At the end of the day that we’re going to do better the more people are well informed, and the more engaged we all are. So to live in a country that is the historic home of mass participatory democracy – that is the United States – we invented the institutions, and the practices, and the values of democracy practice on the scale of millions of voters. More than a million people voted for Andrew Jackson in 1828 at a time when other societies that called themselves democratic – like Britain and France – had fewer than 100,000 voters in countries that were then quite a bit larger than we were. So we invented this thing called modern democracy; and yet in this society, only about half the people who are eligible actually exercise their right to vote. There’s something fundamentally, pathologically wrong about that. So that’s one place to start, is to get more people engaged in the delivery processes from their most local – school board, sewer district, irrigation district – that go right up to the federal level in the making of decisions that will affect us all

Recorded on: 7/4/07

 

A million people voted for Andrew Jackson in 1828.

11 holiday gift ideas for the person impossible to shop for

From coffee makers and headphones to a calming weighted blanket, something here should appeal to just about anyone on your list.

Gear
  • Check out 11 awesome holiday gift ideas, each up 75% off.
  • Options include an ultrasonic cleaner, a portable video projector and a weighted blanket.
  • You can save an extra 15% off each item with the coupon code MERRYSAVE15.

  • Keep reading Show less

    The Sooner You Expose A Baby To A Second Language, The Smarter They’ll Be

    Just hearing two languages helps babies develop cognitive skills before they even speak. Here's how - and how you can help them develop those skills.

    Personal Growth

    A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving -- before they even speak.

    Keep reading Show less

    Breakthrough in creation of gamma ray lasers that use antimatter

    Superpowerful lasers for next-generation technologies are closer to existence.

    Surprising Science
    • A new study calculates how to create high-energy gamma rays.
    • Physicist Allen Mills proposes using liquid helium to make bubbles of positronium, a mixture with antimatter.
    • Gamma ray lasers can lead to new technologies in space propulsion, medical imaging and cancer treatment.
    Keep reading Show less