Stephen P. Tryon Explores ACCOUNTABILITY CITIZENSHIP
Author Stephen P. Tryon concludes that positive, accountable government is within people's grasp if they combine the constitutional tools they have inherited with basic principles of time management, critical reasoning, and performance management. Accountability Citizenship is an impressive discourse that presents a tool kit to empower citizen participation in the American political process. The book presents a compelling analysis of the relationship between partisanship and gridlock in the United States government, changes in the way they distribute and process information in society, and their individual behaviors as consumers and citizens.
Tryon's discussion of the Constitution highlights the fact that over fifty percent of that document is devoted to the role of the United States Congress. He notes that local newspapers-the principal information distribution technology at the time the Constitution was adopted-were aligned with the geographical orientation of the House and Senate. More recently, the regulatory, social and technical evolution of information stream has disrupted this alignment. Passive consumption of information as citizens encounter it leads them to accept a number of harmful myths. These myths are more a function of information marketing than an accurate depiction of facts. The author uses the history of civil rights and women's suffrage to underscore their duty as citizens to seek a balanced perspective and to contribute that perspective to national, state and local political process.
Accountability Citizenship is a new paradigm of information-age citizenship for Americans: a simple system for taking positive control of the flood of information to which they are all exposed, processing that information in accordance with individual beliefs and values, and holding elected officials accountable for representing those beliefs and values. The author offers a broader vision of how individual participation in political process can be more powerful today than ever before. Information technology can provide real-time visibility into what registered voters want from their elected representatives. Using such tools in conjunction with basic performance management techniques would dramatically improve accountability in government.