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Sender: "Bruce Schuman"
Subject: The Uninvolved Citizen and Transpartisanship
Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2014
Msg: 100811

From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of Evelyn Messinger Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:44 PM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: [TRANSPARTISAN] The Uninvolved Citizen and Transpartisanship

Engaging citizens is at the root of the Transpartisan mission, and some recent posts on this list provide an opportunity to confront the question of citizen engagement head-on.

Rick Raddatz wrote, "60% of adults can't name their senators, and this had remained steady across time and across all large democracies -- it's not just an American thing..." Michael Strong added that "the vast majority of citizens are stunningly ignorant regarding the most basic facts of political debate." And we all know how dismal voter turnout is in the US and Europe.

There is some disagreement about the make-up of the great disengaged, and resolving this would be helpful. Do they occupy the "center," essentially agreeing on a great majority of issues, ending up disengaged because partisan ideologies have become too extreme? Are they generally "sigle-issue" types, with strong feelings on the right to life or climate change, but otherwise alienated from the parties that champion these positions? Or are they too busy, uneducated, frivolous and/or cynical to engage in the political process as it is now configured?

Two additional questions can be framed by applying Tom Atlee's excellent dissection of the "Trans" in Transpartisanship to the issue of engaging the uninvolved masses:

- Can more people be engaged by reaching across the divide, and therefore giving them what they long for, political bodies willing to compromise in order to achieve results?

- Would people be energized by going "beyond parties and ideologies altogether," focusing on issues where nascent agreement already exists?

Finally, does it even matter if most people remain disengaged? Is there a magic number of supporters - I've heard 20% of a given population - at which an issue or political platform or candidate becomes viable?

Your thoughts most welcome! Thanks and regards,


-- Evelyn Messinger +1.415.377.6278


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