Information. Action. Accountability. Each depends on the other. Without information, we are adrift in our own society. We don’t know what problems are our own, and which we share. We can’t evaluate the state of the world, or hope to make sense of the kind of future we’d like to build. Bad information leads to bad conclusions, and good information enables problem-solving. With the latter, we can take meaningful action: in developing plans, in coordinating with others, in building and maintaining our worldviews.
Then we take our action and engage in accountability. We push our elected officials to act in accordance with the consensus we build, and to lead us when consensus seems impossible. We look for the world to get better, and we punish them when their own agendas or failures leave us without that improved world.
Again and again, citizenship engages this cycle for our benefit. We learn, we dream, we demand. It is straightforward, yet so easy to break. If we use the wrong information, we create weak and unstable worldviews, and we find it hard to know who to hold accountable or why. That makes our world worse, and gives us more opportunity to give in to our worst selves, creating a negative cycle instead.
So we have to ask ourselves if we’re seeing positive, meaningful engagement in the cycle, or if we’re involved in the negative cycle: where our poor reactions reinforce poor inputs and leave our elected officials unattended.