In the pursuit of happiness, too many Americans seem to have taken a detour - feeling disempowered and disinterested in the democratic process. Voter turnout is often sparse, civic engagement on the political and social fronts is down, and a general feeling that government is not responsive to our needs is widespread.
It is time, writes Sylvia L. Lovely, to build a better world. It begins when people get involved in their communities and regain a sense that they can make a difference.
By becoming "Community Patriots," Lovely suggests, we can not only inject needed vitality into representative democracy, we can also shape our cities and towns into thriving centers that can meet the technological and global demands of the 21st century. At the same time, we can retain "small town" values that enhance our quality of life.
In this Little Blue Book of Big Ideas, Lovely describes what being a Community Patriot involves, and what each of us must know and do to bring about positive change. She also cites a number of people and cities that are already making progressive strides.
This new form of "neighborly" patriotism is based on community involvement, innovative ideas, and a willingness to question the status quo. By strengthening civic participation at the local level, we can begin to make government more responsive and get back on a more solid track in our pursuit of happiness.