I have just started reading this book (how we deal with the extreme acceleration of technology, economic interdependency, and dramatic changes in climate and implications for the world in which we live, the air we breath). Maybe it won’t be a page turner – perhaps it will be – will find out. I saw a short interview with Mr. Friedman and one of the points he made went something like this: “the world looks better when you’re standing on your head…the country looks better from bottom up. Lots of communities get this right… it takes an adaptive coalition [of] business, public schools, philanthropists, public leaders…to build adaptive organisms…when you are up against forces of acceleration…”. He was basically saying that as crazy as things seem to be at the top levels of government a lot of local governments are managing reasonably well – maybe better than reasonably well.
Now back to page 8 (of the e-edition taking into consideration the size of font I am using), and I quote “Our democracy can work only if voters know how the world works, so they are able to make intelligent policy choices and are less apt to fall prey to demagogues, ideological zealots, or conspiracy buffs…”.
I was asked to say a few words at the “Women’s” march in Wolfville last fall. I commented that one of the things we can do is to actually vote – only 31% of eligible Wolfville voters – voted in the Town of Wolfville municipal elections, only 54% I believe in those USA elections. A number of people have spoken to me since thanking me for those comments.
But really it is not just going to the polls on election day. It is, as Thomas L. Friedman says, critical that voters know how the world works so that they can make intelligent and informed choices as to who will make policy on their behalf. And that is going to take work – both on the part of those who wish to lead and those who choose those leaders.
I think the Town of Wolfville does a fairly good job of communicating the issues that will affect our life in Town, but I am sure we could do better. What are your thoughts? What actions of councillors would ensure that voters in Town are sufficiently connected to the issues of our community that that 31% is at least over 50% next time? I look forward to your thoughts and insights.