Democracy needs more than elections and rule of law
By Matt Leighninger, Public Agenda
In the democratic upheaval of the 21st century, citizens still want the
protection of laws and the ability to choose representatives, but those
powers are no longer enough to make government legitimate in the eyes of
the people. Citizens also want to contribute directly.
In the 20th century, the legitimacy of governments was based almost solely
on the rule of law and the right to vote.
In the future, governments may rise or fall depending on whether they are
allowing citizens to take meaningful roles in agenda-setting,
decision-making, problem-solving and community-building.
Changes in democracy are occurring now because of tectonic shifts in the
relationship between citizens and government.
"To establish trust and legitimacy with citizens, the next democracies must
embody a better understanding not only of what citizens want, but of what
and how citizens can contribute to government."