This book, which has no notes, no bibliography, and no mention of the League of Women Voters, the Presidential Debate Commission, campaign finance reform, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney, the Liberty Coalition, the National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation, Reuniting America, or transpartisan post-partisan non-partisan anything, can be summed up in two sentences:
1. Where you live and who you are are no longer synonymous and therefore single-representatives for single districts, howeever the districts are designed, will no longer do.
2. Personally Accountable Representation (PAR) will solve everything, restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and intelligence to the politicians.
This book is, in a word, disappointing. There are so many other books that integrate so much more in the way of integral consciousness, deliberative dialog, and so on, that I cannot in good consciousness recommend this book to anyone.
I have no doubt the authors are skilled mediators, but this book is both historically and intellectually weak–very weak. The authors tried to write a comic book that tells a story while teaching, which is great if they are trying to reach those voters who on the one hand, know nothing and cannot think and on the other are willing to spend money on a book. This is a primer for a demographic that does not exist, but as my purchase well illustrates, the book does find buyers.
Oddly enough, as the book started with a discussion of the importance of ackowledging the legitimate concerns of the other, I struggled to repress my gag reflex, and was reminded of the twelve principles of spirituality, below is the twelve line summary I created from the two-page version created by guru Will Keepin of the Satyana Institute.
01 Motivation based on love
02 Non-attachment to outcome
03 Integrity is one’s protection
04 Integrity in means and ends
05 Do not demonize adversaries
06 Embrace any enemy within We
07 Work for the world, not self
08 In serving world, we serve Us
09 Feel the pain of all in the We
10 Engage with love, not anger
11 Rely on faith in the larger We
12 Let the heart guide the brain
Laminate those into an id card holder with the hole on the end, as I have, and you have a much better value for your time and money.
The book tells the story of a first-time Congressman who learns right away that he has to spend all his time campaigning, cannot vote against anyone else’s bills, must use taxpayer funds to get re-elected (e.g. pork for the district, the frank on mail, and so on.
It is at the end of this section that I am shaking my head and regretting being so impulsive in my selection on the basis of the hugely clever and largely misleading title.
Proportional representation, preferential voting, three-member districts, and the magical formula that will power large cars, sterilize entire buildings with a single breath (PAR) and that is it.
Here are the eight electoral reform points from Ralph Nader as refined by Jim Turner and myself (and in need of input from unified independents, e.g. on ballot initiatives, local voting processes, etc.)
Phase I to be mandated for 2010 Election
+ Holiday Voting
+ Honest Open Debates
+ Expanded Debates
+ Instant Run-Off
Phase II to be mandated for 2012 Election, Districts Redrawn by 11/2009
+ Full and Balanced Representation
+ Tightly-Drawn Districts
+ Full Public Funding of Diverse Candidates
+ No Legislation Without Consultation
If the above is a PhD, and it hardly qualifies, then this book is barely second grade for those who are challenged in more than one respect.
I put the book down with the final comment, “YUK.” The authors are process obsessives, all they care about is finding a solution that everyone can agree on, without regard to the substance of the matter. While they make passing reference to research and data, the fluff at heart is in the book itself: no notes, no recognition of all the hard work of others, no clue on the 1960’s, the 1970’s, the 1980’s, I even wondered if they had been born by the 1990’s, which is of course unfair, but this book has been a skewer in my side and annoying to boot.
Vastly better books include (I am limited to ten, for all the rest see my Annotated Bibliography at oss.net/PIG, just add the www, each book listed has a link right back to Amazon):
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography)
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover))
Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
The Clustering of America
The Nine Nations of North America