For a while now, it’s seemed clear that public participation is under assault at the highest levels of U.S. government. Functioning democracies share power with the governed. Of course there are arguments that politicians are obligated to wield their power on behalf of the people who elected them, therefore public involvement after elections is mostly unnecessary. But U.S. and local laws and common sense say differently; the past half-century has promoted direct democracy and the active engagement of people about all kinds of decisions that affect them. We work with clients who are doing this very effectively, and with others who are learning to do it well. They understand the distinct difference between ‘power over’ vs. ‘power with’.
Our (The Participation Company) managing partner, Debra Duerr, has her own take on the subject in her latest blog.