Democracy in Practice
A diverse people can self-govern

Forget Washington. Save America. (How Living Local can save your sanity and the American Republic.)

Like so much in our current political firestorm, the old adage “all politics is local” seems to have been turned on its head. Thanks to the rise of powerful media conglomerates, the dying business model of the hometown paper and the nonstop (24/7 televised) Washington fistfight spurred on by “the outrage industrial complex,” most politics has become national, dividing us along ideological lines all the way into the hometowns where we used to be real neighbors.

Like most American citizens, we’ve spent the last year shaking angry fists in the general direction of the nation’s capital. This (exhausting and useless) exercise got us considering this distinct possibility: maybe we’ve got everything backwards and upside down about what’s wrong and where it gets fixed. What if by always thinking about big and far away, we’re not keeping with the American tradition of thinking and acting small, right where we live? (You know, that Tocqueville guy wrote about it.)

Imagine if Americans turned our attention toward the communities we share with other Americans, in every city, town, village and one-stoplight hamlet from sea to shining sea? What might happen then — not just in the trust that can grow in our hometowns between us, in the benefits of living more connected, less isolated lives — but imagine what would happen in Washington as a result? We’ll spend this year of programs considering the power of defeating the angry left and right tribes with local tribe – this place, these people.

Resources: We’ve got “this place. these people” bumper stickers we’re happy to share with you.
Possible panelists: Leo Longworth in Palatka, Liz Joyner happy to do this too (it’s my soapbox). Note that this general description needs more connection to Smithsonian exhibit, easy to do just ran out of time.