This is an exchange of comments in response to Restoring Representation- A Strategic Proposal III (Concluded). I think it may be of interest to all.
Alan, what you have said is important and profound. However, I concluded that by only reading a small portion of what you have written, skimmed some and completely blew off the rest. Why?
Too many words! Too much repetition! Nobody is going to read all of this and take it seriously. You MUST pare it down to a concise summary that can be read in less than 15 minutes. You don’t have to convince us that there is a problem. We know all too well! We are much more interested in the solution. Get us there quickly, or we’ll lose interest.
It intrigues me that there are many more people in America today who know know how to read than there were in the colonies at the time of the revolution, but far fewer who have the patience to do so.
I think it comes of so many years of TV shows, movies, TV newsreaders, etc., and the influence of fads in speed reading and the like. It also comes of the fact that many read through reams of material on clothes, food, make-up, cars and fantasy football, but squirm with impatience to read through one chapter of the Bible. Some things are not so much to be “read” as thought on and prayed over.
I know for a fact, though, that some people have had the patience to read and digest the series. Given that fact, perhaps the example of America’s founding generation recommends a course of action.
At the time of the revolution, as a remedy for the fact that in some colonies a significant proportion of the citizens were illiterate, people would gather in homes, churches, or public houses (taverns, coffee houses and the like) and someone who knew how to read would read aloud newspaper articles (like the ones we know as the Federalist papers) for the benefit of the rest. Perhaps we should revive this practice now. This whole series will be available shortly as a downloadable pamphlet. What if people used the pamphlet for reading groups, that could also serve as planning sessions for implementation? That way, as articles like these are being read aloud people could make comments, ask questions and help each other think things through. (FYI, before I publish most of my articles and blog pieces I read and discuss them via phone or Skype, with one or two friends. So I know that doing so is helpful to clarity.)
BTW, if someone gave you a forty page pamphlet and said that you had to read it, understand what you read and follow through, or else in a very little while you and those you love would lose their liberty, their individual rights, their prosperity and quite possibly even their lives; at what point would you lose interest? The problem here may not be the length of what is written, but the tragic failure to appreciate what is at stake.