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Building a New Democracy is Work

First, you will have to find a few neighbors who are willing to help you write a local TDG constitution. Maybe you don’t know your neighbors. Maybe you don’t like them. But you have to get out of your social bubble and interact with people you normally do not interact with. This is a skill we all really need to develop and acknowledge.

Second, you will have to spend about 10 hours a month with these neighbors. Maybe a two-hour meeting every couple of weeks. A few email exchanges to improve the wording of your constitution bit-by-bit. Those 10 hours a month means sacrificing three Netflix movies or sporting events. Ooooo. That’s so hard!

Third, you will have to employ the process of consultation. Consultation requires the combination of knowledge, experience, and wisdom of several people. So you have to listen to the perspectives of your neighbors to build solutions no one could have thought of on their own. For our current political culture of “the side who shouts the loudest and longest wins the debate,” this is such a big change in thinking.

In case you haven’t noticed, all this constitution building is going to give some good practice in TDG governance.

Fourth, if you are elected to your TDG, your responsibilities will increase. Maybe 20 hours a month. Your neighbors believe you are capable for the job. Are you ready to sacrifice a little more entertainment?

Last, you have to be patient. It will take you a couple of years of TDG activity to really understand that the TDG is indeed something better. It will take about five years for some of society to start seeing that the TDG is something better. This patience is hard discipline in the age of instant gratification.

So what is this TDG?

I spent six years in a Canadian political party, circa 1990. I saw a lot of dysfunctional behavior in that time. I left politics after realizing that I could not change things. But somehow, I invented another system of democratic governance. That system addressed all the dysfunction I saw. In 1997, I started putting pen to paper. Twenty-four years ago!

Here is a quick summary of Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG). It has no political parties. Voters cast their vote based on good character and capacity for governance. Elected representatives work with the process of consultation, not partisanship, to decide things. These features make for a kinder, wiser democracy.

That explanation is too simple. So I really invite you to read my book. It will take you about three hours to see how all the pieces of the TDG fit together. Those three hours just might cause you to rethink “doing politics” much differently than how we are doing them today.


A Medium contributor and I were recently having a discussion about the TDG. He had this profound statement:

I learned a long time ago how much easier it is to believe than to think. And it’s much, much easier to “go along, to get along,” than to decide to act, even if it is in your best interest.

Make no doubt that the TDG requires effort.

The TDG will not be built by current politicians, academics, or journalists. It will not be built by the wealthy or the famous. 

It will be built by average people. If we really want that kinder, wiser democracy, average people have to take charge.

And the best part is that we average people need neither help nor permission from the political elite. We just start meeting with our neighbors.

Should we put in that effort to build this new system?

Especially when it’s so much easier to just vote for people who say he or she can fix things for us?

Here’s my Dr. Phil question: “So how’s that voting working for you all?”

The ball is clearly in your court. Are you going to take a swing at it?

Published in Medium 2021

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