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Accountability Citizenship is an impressive discourse that presents a tool kit to empower citizen participation in the American political process. The book presents a compelling analysis of the relationship between partisanship and gridlock in the United States government, changes in the way we distribute and process information in society, and our individual behaviors as consumers and citizens. Author Stephen P. Tryon concludes that positive, accountable government is within our grasp if we combine the constitutional tools we have inherited with basic principles of time management, critical reasoning, and performance management.
Tryon's discussion of the Constitution highlights the fact that over fifty percent of that document is devoted to the role of the United States Congress. He notes that local newspapers-the principal information distribution technology at the time the Constitution was adopted-were aligned with the geographical orientation of the House and Senate. More recently, the regulatory, social and technical evolution of our information stream has disrupted this alignment. Passive consumption of information as we encounter it leads us to accept a number of harmful myths. These myths are more a function of information marketing than an accurate depiction of facts. The author uses the history of civil rights and women's suffrage to underscore our duty as citizens to seek a balanced perspective and to contribute that perspective to our national, state and local political process.
Accountability Citizenship is a new paradigm of information-age citizenship for Americans: a simple system for taking positive control of the flood of information to which we are all exposed, processing that information in accordance with our individual beliefs and values, and holding elected officials accountable for representing those beliefs and values. The author offers a broader vision of how individual participation in our political process can be more powerful today than ever before. Information technology can provide real-time visibility into what registered voters want from their elected representatives. Using such tools in conjunction with basic performance management techniques would dramatically improve accountability in government.
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