There may not seem to be much connection between local politics and a schoolyard game of marbles but an article in today’s New York Times about reviving the traditional games of childhood does offer some insight into city elections. It seems that some parents and educators have noticed that children spend too much of their time interacting with media and not enough time playing with other children so they have started seminars in playing marbles, tag and other such classics of childhood. In the same way, a number of potential voters have noticed that national politicians are spending most of their time raising money for media campaigns and some seem to have forgotten how to interact with interested citizens. Local San Francisco politics hasn’t reached that point yet, but as civic organizations increase their effort to reach out to the public through television and the Internet, there is a potential danger that the conversation between citizens and candidates may dwindle away. That’s why it is important that the League is committed to holding forums where the general public can pose questions to candidate and receive answers. Politics is not a spectator sport–it is about people interacting with people. Electronic media can help make that interaction easier, but we always want to remember that the most important ingredient of political discourse is the individual voice asking a question and getting an answer.
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