September 13, 2022
Democracy: NOT a spectator sport
It’s true. The best way to prompt the changes you seek in your community is by showing up and telling your representatives what you want. But first you need to know where to find them and when they are meeting. That information is not easy to come by in Coastal Georgia. That’s why The Current has spent 6 months building a central community calendar tracking local government meeting schedules and agendas.
You’ll find government meetings and agendas (when posted) for Camden, Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, Bryan and Chatham counties as well as some development authorities. While many counties and cities place agendas and meetings in different spots, we’ve pulled the links together for you in one spot.
Our goal is to make government participation as painless as possible for citizens by collecting info such as meeting dates and times and depositing them into one easy-to-find place so you can show up. County commission, board of elections, school board and city council meetings are just some of the public events we are tracking.
We will update the page at least twice a week. Links to meeting agendas are included when available. If the agendas aren’t available, that’s something you can speak to your representatives about — after all, they work for you and you need to know what’s going on in a timely fashion.
Tell us what you think: The Current invites your feedback on this new initiative. Is the page helpful? Are there any groups or meetings you would like added? Is there any other information like this that we can provide? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we join other news organizations to shine light on the unique opportunities in and threats to American democracy.
There’s a lot to do
Polls show that Americans’ confidence in and respect for national institutions is decreasing. However, these same institutions play a pivotal role in holding together civilization as we know it, writes Governing’s Clay Jenkinson. To lose our belief in them — in a shared identity and purpose — threatens America’s future as one nation. So, how did we get here?
This disillusionment did not arise overnight, nor is a solution likely to happen as fast. With the rise of technology came greater information and transparency, and with transparency came a fractured national identity. Misconduct within police departments, the FBI and organized religion is harder to conceal than ever before. These documented instances of misconduct are compounded by statements from politicians themselves, who now blazon the repeated message that the government is in fact corrupt.
How much do we really know?
Many Americans think they know more about politics than they really do, Ian Anson writes for The Conversation. For five years Anson researched what he calls “political overconfidence,” a phenomenon in which people might be more defensive of factually wrong information or underestimate the competency of peers who hold different political beliefs. Thus, people spread misinformation and become less willing to learn from one another.
Most recently, Anson surveyed Americans to learn how the politically overconfident would react to learning they got political facts wrong. He found that those who believed they tested the best were actually among the poorest performers. Around 70% of those surveyed were politically overconfident. What’s more, their attitudes did not change after reading statements about avoiding common political falsehoods, likely, Anson writes, because they mistakenly consider themselves political experts.
However, those who were also given a “reality check” — a report on how they tested and how their scores ranked among others — were humbled. Those who received a reality check were more likely to change their attitudes toward falsehoods.
• Redistricting: A new poll shows that most Georgians want districts drawn to reflect diversity and preserve communities. The results were shared by the League of Women Voters of Georgia, ACLU of Georgia, Common Cause Georgia and Fair Districts Georgia. A majority of Democrat, Republican and Independent voters all favored election maps that prioritize competitive districts. A majority also support changing Georgia law so districts are drawn in a non-partisan fashion.
• Reminder: The Current has on one-stop page for all things pertaining to the 2022 general election. We’ve compiled resources and voting news in one place to help you make informed decisions come Nov. 8 and we’re updating regularly. Do you have questions about the upcoming election or how to prepare? Let us know.
Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Find Coastal Georgia government calendars and agendas here so you know when things happen in your community and how to get involved.
Governing‘s resident humanities scholar asks, what happens when the glue that holds our society together stops sticking?
Many Americans think they know much more about politics than they really do. That overconfidence can thwart democratic politics.
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