Governance has already been proven to be an effective model for defining the
relationship between a governing body and its executive. Obviously,
how the model is applied differs based on the political structure, such as
city, county, state, and national. Examples of this relationship have
been well illustrated in The Policy Governance Fieldbook,
edited by Caroline Oliver. However, Policy Governance could be applied
to the relationship between citizens and their government.
The logic of the application
of Policy Governance to citizen-government relationship is pretty simple.
The challenge of tradition and the priority placed on electing
representatives for the voters is a significant hurdle. The major
change in the system would be that voters would determine Ends,
and that elected representatives would be responsible to ensure that those
Ends are accomplished.
Although more complicated, there is nothing that suggests that voters
couldn't speak to Limitation on
Means, leaving any further
clarification to the elected representatives.
This would not only mean a
revamping of the political process to create a structure that would allow
for voters to have a voice in Ends
and Means, but a significant
investment in the education of citizens about how the process would function
and their role within it. The process would have to account for a way
to develop and present Ends as well
as Means, one in which there is
enough understanding for voters to make informed choices. Political parties
would have to be about issues, and candidates would have to be willing to
follow the wishes of the voters. This too would be a significant
concern might be that Ends might be
focused only at the majority, with minority groups being left out. The
current political system is as likely to do this because the majority can
elect representatives that reflect their wishes. In terms of
protecting minority groups, Limitations on Means
is more effective than the current system. Limitations
can better assure that adequate levels of results are achieved for everyone.
Governance could give voters a much bigger and clearer voice in determining
their own destiny. It has the potential to move the political system
closer to true democracy, but this change is not likely to come quickly or
Lynn A. Walker, Ph.D.
Boundary Management Consulting
12411 McKelvey Road
St. Louis MO 63146-2929
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