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The Attleboro Democracy: Striving For Better Public Debate

A new magazine is introduced, with the goal in mind of creating better and more substantive debate in public affairs.

Last week, I described to Attleboro Patch readers my hopes that more people would register to vote for this year’s elections, the deadline of which is Wednesday, October 19. A lack of voting is a common concern in civic affairs. Another concern is something that has become apparent in our country’s Capitol: a lack of civility and productivity in the public debate.

This week, I’m going to introduce to you all a project I’ve been working on for a little while, the goal of which is to help introduce more civility and productivity into the public debate. I’d like to introduce to Patch readers the: Attleboro Democracy Magazine. I am privileged to be the editor of this new seasonal magazine, one that focuses on country, state, and city affairs. The first issue focuses on jobs and the economy.

Now, to tell you the story of how the Attleboro Democracy came to be, I have to tell you a much different story.

As Patch readers might remember, back in August, Congress debated over the debt ceiling limit, and whether to raise it. Now, regardless of how you felt about the issue, it was not really handled well by anybody in D.C.

I remember watching some of the debates between members of Congress before heading down to the Cape, and the way they tried to “persuade” each other was just atrocious.

You would have one congressperson come up saying, “The American people want us to compromise. My party has been more than willing to compromise. However, the other side hasn’t.”

And then a Congressperson from the opposing party comes up and says almost word for word the same exact thing! I don’t know why it was so hard to compromise. They both agreed it was the other guy’s fault.

The significance of debating like the example above, which occurs all the time these days in D.C., is that no one is actually persuading anyone of their point of view.

That brings us back to the magazine. The goal is simple: add something good to the public debate. Now, while it will feature writers who seek to educate the public about issues that have no party tilt to them whatsoever, the Attleboro Democracy Magazine has many writers who will express Democratic points of view. It’s going to advocate for some Democratic opinions at times, and if you were ever interested in public life, encourage you to do so through the Democratic Party.

But what party the magazine is isn’t the point! I could care less if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Yankees Fan. (Well, okay, maybe I’d care about the last part.) The magazine was written so that hopefully so that everyone can read it, regardless of their point of view, but still find what’s been written informative and engaging.

With that being said, I have attached the first issue of the magazine to this blog post as a PDF (you can click on it: it's in the top right corner of this blog post). The whole magazine is there for you to read. If you have questions or comments about the magazine, feel free to leave a comment below. Or, even better, send an email to the magazine’s official email: attleborodemocracy@gmail.com. I hope if you take the time to read it, that you enjoy it!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jerry Chase October 19, 2011 at 01:20 AM
The proper term is "Democrat Party", not "Democratic Party". BTW, please note the civility during the mayoral debate on Oct. 12th.
Andrew Meehan October 19, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Jerry, I'll double-check on the spelling of it. Thanks for the heads up. And the mayoral debate was very civil! We just need that nationwide!
Charlie Adler October 19, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Jerry, When you say "Democrat Party" instead of "Democratic Party" you are showing your own lack of civility. According to Wikipedia, "The term has been used in negative or hostile fashion by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since 1940." Aren't we all entitled to be addressed by our given names, as a minimum standard of respect, regardless of how much we may disagree? And by the same token, aren't the groups we belong to entitled to the same respect?
Tom McKiernan October 25, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Great job Andrew - keep it up!
Mark Williams January 27, 2012 at 12:02 AM
@Charlie... so you are insulted if somebody calls you a "Democrat"? Or do you consider yourself a "Democratic"? And Wikipedia, seriously?
Charlie Adler January 27, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Mark, There is a difference between a noun and an adjective. According to the rules I learned in the eighth grade, each has its proper use.
Tisiphone January 29, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I am surprised that anyone comments on the styleof debate, or cares about it at all. Persuasion is not done by debate. Since "everyone has their own agenda", the debate is just cover to take up time while deals are made. Translate "compromise" to "make a deal" and the situation becomes clearer.
Jerry Chase January 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Charlie may have a point here. My opinion has been that for the more liberal party to refer to itself as the Democratic party is misleading, particularly for newcomers whose familiarity with English is not quite what most residents retain. My rationale is based on the idea that, "Who would be against something being democratic?" Perhaps this is symantics, in that those who consider themselves member of, or idelogically aligned with the Democrat(ic) party are generally called, "Democrats"------not Democratics, to be sure and to be fair. The real irony is that we always hear that "This is a democracy". It is not: it is a representative republic. " . . . and to the republic, for which it stands, . . " Jerry
Charlie Adler January 30, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Jerry, I think America is commonly and correctly described as both a republic and a representative democracy. However, the nature of our society and our government is constantly evolving. Two of the basic principles on which our country was founded are freedom and equality. As our society evolves, often due to advances in technology, those basic principles frequently come under assault. When billionaires can pour money into political advertising to influence the outcome of elections, do we all truly have an equal say in who gets elected to represent us? And when the Patriot Act authorizes the FBI to secretly gather information on innocent people, I think we have reason to fear that our freedoms are being eroded.

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