You are here: home   Issues   187   Collaboration makes democracy work

Collaboration makes democracy work

Document Actions
Dear HCN,

Thank you for the great commentary on collaboration and the criticism it receives (HCN, 8/28/00: Squishy-soft processes - hard results). As someone who has participated in several of these processes on behalf of ranchers and farmers, I've been told that collaborators are those that helped the Nazis in World War II France and that collaboration represents a lack of leadership. In each case, the discussions receiving such criticism resulted in solutions that were locally grown and ultimately successful.

I believe that the process requires a new (and more powerful) form of leadership as well as a faith in a "third alternative' - one that goes beyond the either-or decisions inherent in traditional, position-based negotiations. This third (or fourth or fifth) alternative is, in my experience, a synergistic solution that accomplishes far more than what any individual party may have originally proposed.

I was also interested in Michael McCloskey's comment that collaborative processes are "a grievous wound to the practice of democracy." One of the foremost challenges that we face in the West is the need to balance the long-term stewardship of our natural resources with a political system that shifts emphasis every four or eight years. Contrary to Mr. McCloskey's perspective, I believe that the collaboration is exactly what the creators of our system of government had in mind. Collaboration allows communities - of people and interests - to creatively solve our most pressing resource-management issues. By embracing local experience, knowledge and viewpoints, these efforts create more lasting solutions than litigation or legislation.

Dan Macon
Penryn, California

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  5. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone