The Neighborhood Precinct
Robert Kennedy, Jr., made the point on a “Ring of Fire” episode, “The problem is not that our voice is loud enough, it is that the voter just does not understand.”
Also, in a World Affairs Council meeting, a Professor of Economics from Lewis and Clark University presented charts and data exposing the reality of the Debt Ceiling contest in congress. He made the point that the positions of Obama and Boehner were essentially the same and concluded,”… the public is not being represented. Any real change must come from the community.”
A precinct based model would provide a geographic based, non-partisan platform with the goal to organize each neighborhood precinct into a common community to support those policies that will maintain the commons. Currently, its just the “choir” that becomes involved in local political activist groups or political events. The precinct model will provide space to gather neighborhood residents of all stripes to find solutions and exercise the power that an organized precinct can bring to those that hold office.
I had some experience in the 2004 election developing neighborhood precincts. We split large precincts into smaller sub-precincts, typically 5 sub-precincts per precinct, prepared canvassing routes to announce events, meetups and topics for discussion. The precinct model would provide a place for the public to meet and work on their democracy. If this model “gets legs” the movement could provide collective pressure on political organizations or possibly build community institutions that would be independent of the current political/media stale mate.
It is a common complaint that current political institutions are broken. Institutions seem unable to affect or address accelerating inequality, economic breakdown or fund basic human needs.
Organizing the public at the municipal level is doable and will provide the power we need to put in place solutions that exist, solutions that will dramatically affect the economy and provide funding that we need to support schools, housing, and community health.
We can do this.