BANR Writer Kerra Bolton calls for a citizens’ assembly on policing in the wake of an increase of fatal police shootings.
The social and public conversations about the issues that matter in the United States and elsewhere lacked two important ingredients – civility and discourse. We need a revolution by conversation. Our very survival depends on it.
In 109 deliberative polls held in 28 countries around the world, after hearing speakers and deliberating with others, people change their choices from the first telephone poll almost 70 percent of the time.
“The public is very smart if you give it a chance…If people think their voice actually matters, they’ll do the hard work, really study their briefing books, ask the experts smart questions and then make tough decisions. When they hear the experts disagreeing, they’re forced to think for themselves. About 70 percent change their minds in the process.”
Citizens’ assemblies chosen by sortition, completely match James Surowiecki’s criteria for good large group decision-making. They focus on legislation, rather than re-election.
Deliberative polling is an essential ingredient of building a new reality. It has the potential to revitalize culture, improve public discourse, and generate better solutions to our most urgent problems, because it relies on the collective wisdom of an informed crowd.
Over the course of 18 months, from October 2016 to April 2018, ninety-nine randomly selected Irish citizens did an incredible thing: They made policy recommendations to their government. And what’s more, the government listened and responded.