Letter to the editor: Participatory democracy

To the editor:

Recently I went to a meeting at the Cider Gallery, a campaign rally for Courtney Shipley, who is running for reelection to the City Commission. People were there because they are concerned that their city remains a good place to live, concerned that it has good government, though I am sure there was no universal agreement on what our city needs.

Courtney spoke of her concerns and hopes for Lawrence and she spelled out some of what she intends to do. She described well what it takes for commissioners to do their job: time, energy, patience, homework, imagination and, especially, listening. I’m afraid I missed her explanation for why she wishes to continue serving on the City Commission. Certainly not for the salary. Not for the respect and appreciation she receives, which surely does not exceed the criticism and abuse by much. I think she just wants to help.

Regardless of how the election goes, I was inspired by this little bit of participatory democracy. This is how our great nation started, in small gatherings of concerned people. Democracy is not a given, not a sure thing. Especially now. It must be maintained and promoted by people willing to be informed and involved and by candidates like this willing to use their talents and energy for the good of all of us. I left the meeting grateful for all those who do the work of democracy and excited again about what we the people can do if we are willing.

Joe Douglas,



Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.