Direct Democracy

Call it minimum gain for maximum pain. You probably spend dozens of hours a month on Facebook. You probably spend dozen of hours on online shopping. So, if you’re like most citizens of most polities, why don’t you spend even a few minutes a month engaging in the art of governance? Probably because there are few opportunities for you to do so–and those there are offer a limited impact to anyone that doesn’t care much whether District 18 adds another streetlight to the dead end of Pointless Lane.  Direct democracy–examples include national and serial referenda and citizens’ initiatives–are the many mechanisms by which citizens can check, balance, challenge and regulate the decisions (the really big, meaningful decisions, not just the tiny, trivial ones) of representative bodies from the bottom up. Direct democracy doesn’t mean the tyranny of the majority or mob rule–but does it means avenue for voters to hold representatives accountable and introduce or challenge legislation. And the plain fact is:  in a world where you can instantly check stock prices, order dinner, and plan your vacation from your iPhone at 35,000 feet, direct, always-on, hyperconnected democracy is an idea whose time has probably come–and one whose promise has never been greater.

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