Local Commentary

The Little City Weed


Time to embrace oprahization as the next phase in the evolutionary cycle of representational democracy.




Time to embrace oprahization as the next phase in the evolutionary cycle of representational democracy.

In the same way speaker corners led to modern concepts of free speech, and neighbors confined in stockades in village squares set us on the path toward a more contemporary penal system, oprahization will set the stage for perfecting the rough outline of a republic left us by political ancestors.

There is something about the public overshare, the clutch-and-cry couch moment, which fills a void in our democratic souls. Imagine the satisfaction of having a safe place in our community where neighbors who have aggrieved us can explain themselves and appeal directly to the better judgment of fellow human beings. It is one thing to have a celebrity with whom we have no connection make a public confession and appeal for humanity, but think how much richer the experience would be if it were scaled to a level which directly impacts each of us.

Like the guy who tows all those cars every time we have a parade in the city. Let him take a moment in a safe public place to explain his wounded boy soul. He could appeal for understanding of the service he provides local businesses and perhaps pass along suggestions on how to improve local parking. Then we could all look into his eyes and make snap judgments about his character and the sincerity of his proffering a suggestion which would put him out of business.

Oh this will be fun people.

The local priest who recently invoked the specter of Muslims in our community as a reason to pray for the result he wants in a property lawsuit, sitting on a sofa with one of our community pillars, “Now, father, please explain again to the good people why you chose to lead your congregation to believe that if it loses a lawsuit the historic church will be turned into a mosque? Is that really fair? Does that not unnecessarily contribute to a climate of hate and fear in our community?” A question emphasized by the moderator with a head tilt and a gentle arm pat.

Or the local elected supervisor who encouraged a nonpolitical utility board to engage in aggressive political litigation against a neighboring community. “Now, dear, do you think there is a reason public utility boards are kept separate from politicians? Do you understand why some people might believe having local elected officials meddle with utility commissions might not be a good thing?”

Oprahization is the democratic cornerstone our Founding Fathers could not put in place.  Beyond setting boundaries for what government can and cannot do, is the question of what government should do. Oprahization gets to the heart of the latter question.

Our legal system is expensive, elitist, and counter intuitive. Media has become business more than a public service. The gap in our modern democracy, then, can be filled with a safe public place, a moderator, and a citizenry up for making a spectacle of itself.


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.