An Active Citizen

You can start your life as a active citizen by taking one or more of the following actions. More may be better. You can find a couple that are truly easy (pizy).


  • What an active citizen can do to help his/her school district, town, city, state. You might start at a local library.
  • Learning a little more than just a little about your county government.
  • Keeping politically humble, curious, and modest.
  • Making an opportunity to attend a couple of meetings of civic organizations.
  • Joining a political party.It is OK to change parties.
  • Registering to vote. It can be more interesting to register as a party member.
  • Getting a better understanding of an issue, a policy, a plank, or a specific bill.
  • Contacting the office of a specific office holder and asking what his or her position is on your issue of interest.
  • Calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard and telling them your zip code. They will transfer you to your Representative. Tell your Representative representative what is on your mind: ask your question or say what it is you want of him.
  • Writing to the office of your Senator. Check on line to see how to spell his name. Address your letter to him in care of the United States Senate, Washing DC 20515.
  • Writing to your Congressman/Representative by name at the United States House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515.
  • Sitting quietly foe awhile and letting what you have learned work itself around in your mind. You may be be beginning to cook a bit politically.
  • Remembering that nobody has to be a politician all the time.
  • Finding a finding a friend who seems to be politically knowledgeable or civically interested. Talk civics or issues of governance and like that.
  • Attending meetings of your city council or of your local school board. You ca just watch.
  • Keeping your sense of humor and having some fun as you remember that political often have seriously important consequences.


Thanks for reading citizen! If you are a citizen of Moldova, Bolivia, or elsewhere you can find some useful actions above. You can use the translation tool in the left hand column. 


by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill


Democratic Meetings

You can better know what a democratic meeting is. Below are some useful hints.

As you look over these hints you may find it useful to have in mind that all democracy is participatory; That each democratic meeting is a powerful learning experience for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear; that there are, below the surface, rules for effective and just communication being learned by participants.

These rules need not be mysterious. Examples may be: practice dialogue skills, methods, and techniques, learn that your respect and courtesy is good for you and yours, Increase your understanding of the vocabulary of the business.

Okay, on to the hints.


An effective democratic meeting is:

~ of, by, and for it's participants.

~ as free as possible from outside powers.

~ autonomous.

~ held in a safe place. One attribute of a safe place is that it is neutral.

~ designed and redesigned to meet the needs of the participants.

~ as inclusive as possible.

~ better when participants realize that it is an important listening experience.

~ better when leadership roles are kept to a minimum and are of wide participation. Take turns.

~ a 'teach in' and a learning time.

~ most often a time more for understanding and less for decisions.

~ a time for thinking together.

~ a time for all of your comments and communications are best addressed to the group as a whole.

~time to practice good manners and honesty.

~ an opportunity to observe the effectiveness of participatory democracy.


It may be best to see these hints as pointing to useful directions to go rather than as goals to achieve.



by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill                              















A Social Organization Dream

What you can find here is a group of attributes I have found congenial for meetings of some organizations and groups. Perhaps I should have included "meetings" in the title. But then, most organizations do seem to have a lot of meetings.

I have attended meetings at conventions and at my den mother's home, I have attended business meetings and 12 Step meetings, educational meetings and political meetings, city council meetings and lots of meetings. 

I imagine that you have attended your share of meetings; some of which you have found more congenial than others. I have found it so.

Below are a couple of lists of meeting attributes I have found congenial.

A congenial meeting is one which likely has:

  1. the purpose of advocating and protecting me. 
  2. members who value honesty and justice highly.
  3. a mission I find valuable and pleasing.
  4. those who study and promote actions good for me and others.     
  5. dialogue which leads to appropriate actions.
  6. enough competent members.
  7. plenty of talk in which all participate.     
  8. members who feel, connected, involved, and respected.
  9. members who embrace reality and are willing to approach truth.
  10. members who promote widespread participation and responsibility.
  11. enough of those who have a clear understanding of costs and benefits.
  12. the motive of helping me and others.                                                                                            


And more; a kind of meeting which attracts me is one which:  

  1. keeps me in the informational loop.
  2. most members feel well connected with leadership.
  3. makes very clear who pays how much and who gets what.
  4. moves in the direction of democracy.
  5. tends to be inclusive.
  6. tends to safeguard that which I value.
  7. includes those who study and promote actions good for me and others.
  8. advocates and protects people and processes important to me.
  9. promotes effective dialogue.
  10. leads to appropriate actions.  


12+10 = 22  attributes

What meeting has these attributes? Probably there is no meeting that has half of them. One which has five of them may be worth looking into. You might try including six in your own meeting.  


If I found a political meeting with ten of them I might try to become a member. 



What attributes might attract you to a meeting or organization? I hope there is a space below for comments. I invite you to use it. Ah, what have you hated about a meeting? Comment. I think that it is possible to comment anonymously.


  I may post more on organization an organizations.



by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill