I first brought up the idea of the Democracy Theme Park — the place where we play at pulling the levers of democracy, only to discover they aren’t connected to anything — at a conference in Texas in l996. Before and since, while we’ve been stuffing envelopes, writing letters to our “representatives” and talking to twelve people at a time in living rooms, corporate executives have continued writing laws and buying television stations. They’re making policy, while we’re standing in line for rides at the Democracy Theme Park. But we don’t have to stay here. We too can develop provocative and nuanced strategies for returning democracy to what it was supposed to be all about; government for the people, by the people. So hang on to your hats and sharpen your pencils… we’re going over the wall!
But first, take a step back to 1996. What I said then is still (alas) deeply relevant.