The boss is in the other room watching RTV. Already today, I’ve heard two guys who are or were running for president whining about the system, how we aren’t democratic enough for them. To me, they’re telling on themselves. Having ignored the application process, I doubt they’ve read the job description. My fears are reinforced because I have heard neither of them engage conversations about limits on the powers of the office. The “conservative” media is giving them a pass, too.

The despondency is but a lead-in for local government. A newsletter from the City of Asheville today announced two more democratic rollouts. One is called “Plan on a Page.” Community organizers are to collect information from their neighbors about a collective vision and how that aligns with the goals in city council’s Strategic Operating Plan and the Asheville City Development Plan 2025. To belabor what should be obvious, but obviously isn’t, the process presupposes people want a plan. Necessarily under-represented will be people who would say things like, “Mind your own business,” “I don’t care,” and “Live and let live.” The process also would extract ideas made up by the power of suggestion, as when a hypnotist regressing a patient asks, “What does the alien look like?”

Another exercise in programmed learning – I mean democracy – is Open City Hall. It is billed as giving residents an opportunity to help city council with the decision-making process. Saith the promo:

The City of Asheville aims to engage citizens by providing them information on each issue to enrich online comments and to provide more opportunities for citizen interaction and engagement.

I will not expect commentary by those opposing the city’s preconceived notions to be part of the dialogue, but it might. My assumption is based only on the recurrence in staff reports of pro’s and con’s that read along the lines of:

This will be great if we do it.
Things will go bad if we don’t.