TDG Banner

TDG Neighborhoods & Communities

My next-door neighbor Kathleen was a social butterfly. She was great at talking to neighbors. And her outdoor discussions led to a little social circle in our neighborhood. Eight houses somehow came together as a friend unit. We socialized. We helped one another out with childcare and moving furniture. We got to meet one another’s relatives.

The commonality was our neighborhood. Yes, we were all Caucasian and social drinkers. But there were different religions, different educations, different social classes, and different ages. It was a great, fun, and somewhat diverse group to belong to.

Kathleen’s group were not totally dependent on one another. We all had other communities we belonged to which were outside our neighborhood. For example, I was in Toastmasters and in politics. I made some good friends in those places. But it was still nice to come home and know some of my neighbors cared about me.

Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG) will delineate electoral units as 200-resident neighborhoods. Kathleen’s natural TDG neighborhood would be about two city blocks. Kathleen was well known to the eight houses. She was somewhat known to most of our block. Our block probably would have voted Kathleen as its TDG neighborhood representative.

But the block next to ours was not known to Kathleen. Would she still be elected when that block’s votes came in?

It probably doesn’t matter. Kathleen would have earned enough votes to be a viable contender. If someone from the other block had more votes, I’m sure that person was also a neighborhood leader and a good candidate for the position.

If Kathleen had been elected, she would have found ways to make that second block feel included. She would have been a good TDG representative.

One common criticism of the TDG is that many neighborhoods are not communities. So, the neighbors do not know one another well enough to vote wisely, based on good character and capacity for governance. Critics would say that Kathleen’s community is not normal.

To counter this criticism, I say the TDG will not be implemented overnight. It will start with a few neighbors recognizing that our current democracy is failing, and someone has to start building a new democracy. As these neighbors are building their first TDG constitution, they are also starting to form a little stronger community. The rest of the neighborhood will likely be disinterested in their initial workings.

But these early TDG builders will be gently letting the neighborhood know of what is happening. Invitations to join will be extended. A few more neighbors will join—and learn the TDG ways. 

After a few TDG elections, members and non-members will start becoming impressed with the quality of the elected representative. Most of these people will seem capable. If not, the next election will replace them. “This TDG seems to be working,” neighborhood residents might muse.

Election Day will be an opportunity for neighbors to meet and become a little more known to one another. Neighbors will be meeting with vote tellers and fellow neighbors. There might even be a coffee pot and some pastries for voters to stay around and chat for a half hour or so.

These little connections will eventually form little groups of neighbors into social and helping circles. Just like Kathleen’s group. The TDG will be teaching neighbors the benefits of being a little nicer to one another—and more accepting of our little differences.

The TDG will be a source of community building in many neighborhoods. People will start caring more for people living next to them. People will now be living in communities. Maybe improved communities will be the best legacy of the TDG.

Published on Medium 2021

Voting for Good Character

Building a Wiser, Kinder Democracy