Wednesday, May 22, 2019

But what of identity issues?

In ethnically and culturally homogeneous areas those issues do not need to be addressed. How are you going to enforce accountability if there loyalties and identities are divided?

Politics and Civic Friendship by Elias Crim

A few years ago, I heard that our Valpo Mayor Jon Costas was recommending a book called Community, by Peter Block. I got myself a copy and found it full of great, even inspiring ideas toward a goal of community transformation, partly by pushing back on our terrible social isolation.

Here’s one of Block’s nuggets: Our goal in politics and civic life should be to transform citizen entitlement into citizen accountability.

Meaning: voluntary, enthusiastic accountability — another way of saying commitment to the community. I think a lot of our Valpo residents get this and practice it.

In other words: we need lots of what are called Strong Citizens, people who want to go beyond just passively belonging to a place to “co-owning” it. This sense of co-ownership is the most powerful form of what we call “civic engagement.”

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