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Neighborhoods are not Communities - Frequently Asked Questions

Good Character and Capacity for Governance

The TDG asks voters to find people of good character and capacity for governance--and vote for them. So the next question is: "What is good character and capacity for governance?"

The answer is: "However the voter defines these terms for him- or herself!"

Let's take two neighbors as an example. The first neighbor is someone is willing for some pleasant chitchat on the street. The two of you can talk about many things, and you actually enjoy the discourse from this person. The second neighbor is rather unfriendly--and prefers not to talk to you--ever. If these are the only two neighbors you can vote for, which one will you vote for? Most of us would pick the first one. This person is someone we can probably approach on matter of governance, and we can see such a person is more likely to be more consultative than the second neighbor.

Let's bring in a third neighbor. This neighbor is not as friendly as the first neighbor but is approachable. Maybe this person is an introvert. And you know this person is serving on three different community boards as a volunteer. By his actions, we know this person has a sense of community--and so is not a bad person. Now you have two viable choices, the first neighbor and the third neighbor. Pick one of them to cast a vote towards. With two good neighbors to choose from, I think it's unlikely that your fellow neighbors are going to put the unfriendly second neighbor into government.

Remember, the TDG does not pick the best. But it picks from among the best.

In your chitchats with the first neighbor, you start suspecting this person might have a little problem with alcohol. Should you, for sure, now cast your vote towards that third neighbor? That would depend on you. If you believe the first neighbor's issue with alcohol is not that serious, it is still your choice to vote for that first neighbor. You decide what level of alcohol consumption is appropriate to allow someone into governance--or keep them out of governance.

How about you learn that the first neighbor used be an alcoholic but has recovered. Should you use the former addiction as a reason not to cast a vote towards that person? Again, that would be your decision. 

Let's bring in a fourth neighbor. This person prides himself on being quite aware of various social issues. He sure sounds smart and up-to-date. He might be a good person to put into governance as well; we need smart people in government, right? But after a few more chitchats on the street, you get a sense that this person doesn't appreciate opinions that are different than his own. And you can use that criterion--if you want--not to cast your vote his way.

You watch and interact with your neighbors during the year. You define the terms "good character" and "capacity for governance" in your way. Then you cast a vote based on your standards.

That is how TDG voting works!

For sure, we will get better quality people into governance than what the political parties proffer for us.

Neighborhoods are not Communities?

This is a common critique of the TDG. Without some kind of community, how do neighbors know enough about each other to vote wisely in the annual TDG elections? In many neighborhoods, the neighbors are actually strangers, choosing their social circles away from the neighborhood. 

To address this concern, I'm going back to my neighborhood of Ritchie, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada circa 1990. My next door neighbor was a very socialable person. She managed to bring about eight houses into one social circle. We would often get together for visits and coffee and barbecues. We would do small favors for each other. We got to know each other's relatives. It was great having that network in my life--and I didn't have to go very far. 

And we were a diverse group. While we were Caucasian in race, we were different ages, different religions, different economic classes. Despite our differences, we just enjoyed being around each other. And we kept our social circles outside the neighborhood. 

We need more neighborhoods like this. I believe the TDG will be a catylist for forming such communities in neighborhoods. Imagine getting four or five houses in a neighborhood to start building a local TDG constitution, with the goal of participating in a process to replace western democracy. This very act will have neighbors starting to get to know each other and build a local community.