The United States and its people have reached a crossroads as they fight and argue and struggle over the direction of their democracy. What better place to witness this crossroads than along that great thoroughfare of American life, the Mississippi River.
Over a week, we will visit three neighboring, if very different, states as they wrestle with fundamental questions of democracy, representation, and accountability. Our tour will take place during the week of state elections across the country.
In Missouri – the Show Me state in the center of the U.S. -- we’ll visit with Kansas City media and religious figures who have been deeply involved in direct democracy and with St. Louis political leaders involved in the fall campaigns over whether to limit the time for voting to just six days, or extend it to six weeks.
To the South, in Arkansas, we’ll be met by one of the U.S. leading practitioners of direct democracy, Paul Jacob. There in his home state, he is fighting a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would reverse one of his triumphs: the establishment of term limits for elected representatives. He’ll also introduce us to activists working to provide additional time for collecting signatures, and to leaders of efforts to raise the minimum wager and liberalize state alcohol laws.
And finally, in New Orleans, we’ll examine the civic context for democracy by gathering with participants in the Big Easy’s freewheeling and innovative media culture. The Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ traditional paper, stopped publishing daily two years ago, creating a void that has been filled by a Baton Rouge paper, various online experiments, local universities, and by the philanthropic community. We’ll learn more via a public event and in private meetings.
The tour will conclude on Sunday morning with a meeting of Democracy International's board.
Airport and Date of Arrival: Kansas City [MCI], November 3 (until late afternoon)
Airport and Date of Departure: New Orleans [MSY], November 9 (from mid-afternoon for Democracy International Board members, morning all others)
This briefing tour is organized and guided by journalists, Global Forum Co-Presidents and Democracy International Board members Joe Mathews (Los Angeles/US) and Bruno Kaufmann (Falun/Sweden). All registered participants will get a preparation kit ahead (by end of september)
Registration (of interest)
For registration (of interest) and all practical questions related to the tour please contact the Democracy International office in Cologne/Germany.
Contact Person Andreas Müller, firstname.lastname@example.org