Election Results: Dems Suck at Civic Engagement « Flying Tomato Farms
I really like this piece at Flying Tomato Farms. Here you have a person who specializes in sustainable farming while blogging a good analysis of state and local election numbers and issues... and one of her city officials actually reads it and comments.
The sad thing, which the blogger and the commenter both note, is the low participation in the political process. We're not talking just low voter turn out - see the official's comment about no-shows at public meetings on important issues.
It is so good to read an information seeking, community concerned citizen and a conversation seeking, community concerned official.
But it is so sad (as both of them note) that there is so little real public engagement in the process.
I would opine that low involvement contributes to government sprawl and intrusion on the one hand or people becoming marginalized on the other. When the general public takes the process for granted, it can get worked by factions and activists who expand government control. Alternatively, there can be no process at all and issues affecting a community are simply ignored.
Low public involvement in politics correlates with today's decline of many civic and social venues, as is suggested in Jon Lauck's Prairie Republic.
Certainly a big issue for churches today - we've moved from the center of society out to the edges in a very short time. Spiritually, that's not a bad place to be. The church of the New Testament lived on the margins. But it's still a disorienting change to deal with.