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Politics for People: Finding a Responsible Public Voice Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Politics for People: Finding a Responsible Public Voice + The Ecology of Democracy + Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World (Frank W. Abrams Lectures)
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

We the people are pretty disgusted with politics. Mathews relies upon convincing survey data to show that this common knowledge is true. But what we're disgusted with is formally elected, representative government, which we see as in thrall to interests able to bend the ears and buy the favors of elected officials. There is another form of American politics, however, one vital to the American ideal that government is of, by, and for the people. It resides in our town-meeting-like habit of banding together to do things that need doing in our communities, whether it's keeping a toxic-waste dump from being put next door to a school or cleaning up the neighborhood. It depends not upon election, but upon self-selection and not upon careerism, but upon good citizenship and fellow feeling. Perhaps, a reader can conclude, by realizing how much political power we can and do wield in our own backyards, we may lose a lot of our dependency upon our elective government. Mathews reminds us of the true consistency and the persistence of authentically American politics. Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"We the people are pretty disgusted with politics... But what we're disgusted with is formally elected, representative government... There is another form of American politics, however, one vital to the American ideal that government is of, by, and for the people. It resides in our town-meeting-like habit of banding together to do things that need doing in our communities, whether it's keeping a toxic-waste dump from being put next door to a school or cleaning up the neighborhood. It depends not upon election, but upon self-selection and not upon careerism, but upon good citizenship and fellow feeling. Perhaps ... by realizing how much political power we can and do wield in our own backyards, we may lose some of our despondency and a lot of our dependency upon our elective government." - ALA Booklist "The optimism of David Mathews is very much needed in these cynical times. His faith that the public can play a much more substantial political role is contagious... An effective antidote to the prevailing cynical view of an apathetic public that has little interest in any but the most parochial concerns."- William Stewart, The Alabama Review ADVANCE PRAISE "An extraordinarily timely, topical, and useful book. Written in an accessible, popular style, it addresses the central public question of our time: How to develop a politics that works?"- Harry C. Boyte, coauthor of Citizen Action and the New American Populism "There is a remarkable wave of innovative thought and action among social problem solvers at the grassroots today-and Politics for People is at the leading edge of that wave. It is required reading for citizens."- John W. Gardner, Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service, Stanford University "Accessible and deeply important, Politics for People makes a vital contribution to the debate about the nature of American democracy."- Benjamin F. Barber, author of The Conquest of Politics: Liberal Philosophy in Democratic Times "Goes several steps beyond many recent reflections on public disenchantment with traditional political behavior and with governance by politics-as-usual. David has effectively integrated a candid examination of the dilemma of inaccessible politics with practical examples of ways in which ordinary citizens can manage, influence, and even capture the future of their own communities. Politics for People makes a very valuable contribution to the literature on political participation." - Eddie N. Williams, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

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