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Yay or Nay: Citizen Congress a Good Idea?


I was cruising candidate websites when I found this crafty idea on John Edwards's site:

Edwards believes in the wisdom of the American people and the power of deliberation. Every two years, he will ask 1 million citizens nationwide to participate in Citizen Congresses combining local town halls with the latest technology to create true national discussions, unfiltered by interest groups. Americans will discuss the challenges and trade-offs facing our country and offer advisory opinions to leaders.

Edwards points to past examples of citizen-centered projects, which have given the people a say in: the World Trade Center memorial, the redevelopment of New Orleans, and health-care reform in California.

If you're hot on the idea, the book Deliberative Democracy proposes an even more revolutionary idea: the creation a fourth branch of government as a way of giving the people a voice of their own.

Does a Citizen Congress sound good?

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