You’ve heard of Slow Food, Slow Money, even Slow Gardening. It’s amazing how fast the concept of slow has caught on.
Now the principles that guide the rest of the Slow movements — a focus on local and ethical instead of cheap and fast — are (finally!) being applied to politics with the new book Slow Democracy.
In Slow Democracy, community leader Susan Clark and democracy scholar Woden Teachout document the range of ways that citizens around the country are breathing new life into participatory democracy in their communities. Along with real-life examples of slow democracy in action, Clark and Teachout also provide twenty simple guidelines for communities, and citizens, to use as ways to reinvigorate their local democratic process.
Clark and Teachout hail from Vermont, a “politically monochromatic state the authors call ‘almost insanely liberal,'” where town meetings have long been a tradition in community-scale decision making. But even in Vermont, politics isn’t simple, and not everyone finds it easy to agree. A recent profile of the authors and their project in the Rutland Herald explains:
“‘Sitting down with people who are different is a real act of courage,’ Clark says, ‘but we need all of those minds in the room. All of us know more than any one of us. We can’t take away power on one hand and then bemoan citizen apathy and lack of volunteerism and engagement on the other.’
As for the ‘slow’ part? ‘Yes, local democracy and strengthening community takes time,’ Clark concludes. ‘So enjoy it.'”Critics agree that the book makes a compelling case. Kirkus Reviews called the book “A valuable tool for improving the way government operates at the local level.” Politics in America always seems to be for sale to the highest bidder. While we don’t advocate buying an election, we’d like to encourage you to buy this book, so we’re offering Slow Democracy for 25% off this week!