While we’re on the subject of civic virtue …

A short book review written late last year in response to the publication of Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto.  I know, I know, it’s a few months old, but the ideas are still relevant, and I hadn’t started this site back then.

An excerpt:

Citizenship, by contrast, has a larger scope – but it also makes greater demands of us. While it carries rights, it also imposes obligations upon us – to ourselves, to our communities, and to our fellow citizens. It’s just that sort of engagement that Local Motion celebrates, and none too soon: In return for the rights inherent in citizenship, we assume certain responsibilities: critical thought and active civic engagement most of all.


There were references to several local heroes, including Edward Keenan (last week’s Twitter exchange on the subject led to an earlier post, in fact), Denise Balkissoon, Bert Archer, Hamutal Dotan, and Jonathan Goldsbie, who took to the Tweeter with this … 

Screen_shot_2011-05-10_at_6

Anyone remember Starship Troopers? A movie so awful, it was magnificent. Vicious man-eating bugs. Loads of special effects. And I’m pretty sure the fictitious newscasters were part of the template for Fox Noise. But there was a great line in it from Michael Ironside:

While I’m not going to pretend I’m above milking it for cheap laughs, I’m still looking for clarity about civic virtue, despite the sententious overtones. In particular, how can we celebrate and encourage it without sounding all sanctimonious? Especially given recent political shifts at both federal and municipal levels?

And more fundamentally, how do we define it in an inclusive and non-alienating way without succumbing to lowest-common-denominator temptations or diluting it to the point of meaninglessness? 

I don’t have the answers, but these are questions progressives need to be wrestling with.

 

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