Kettering Review Fall 2017
The Kettering Review is a journal of ideas and activities dedicated to improving the quality of public life in American democracy. The Review is edited by Noëlle McAfee and Nicholas A. Felts.
For millennia, many have doubted the capacities of ordinary people to productively participate in public life. The story often goes that citizens are too disinterested, too polarized, and too lacking in knowledge to talk productively with their fellows, much less to collectively make sound decisions. As such, the “business” of democracy is better left to those who supposedly know better. In the wake of the recent elections, this refrain has increased in intensity. While problems persist on many fronts, blame increasingly falls on citizens.
With this as background, this issue of the Kettering Review highlights pieces that focus on how a public thinks, taking into account the places they live, the people with whom they interact, and the things they hold near and dear to their hearts. As a whole, the pieces provide a picture, not of what the public thinks, but of how and why a public thinks. The “how” picture is far messier in that it does not convey a unified voice or a singular judgment. What it does convey though is public thinking that is actively struggling with difficult decisions, full of nuance, and reflective of the things that people deeply care about.