Rumination on Good Governance

For years my idea has been that for good governance: authority, responsibility, and accountability are inseparable. Lately, I have come to realize that at least in a democracy, authority needs to be acceptable to the people, that part of responsibility is sensitivity to the powerless, and indispensable for accountability is transparency. So now I’d say: authority acceptable to those it affects, responsibility with sensitivity to all, and the transparency needed for accountability are the necessary ingredients for effective government. I’m sure this is nothing new, but I just hadn’t consciously put it into words before.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on September 9, 2017, in Good Governance, Justice, Political and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. That’s a great post. However I guess all kinds of governance have one thing in common. That the ruler is always chooses from the pool of people that best represent the ordinary level of intelligence of the populace. Enlightenment is never emphasized hence, man will always succumb to corruption and misgovernment because the ruler and the ruled are both in a deep spiritual sleep.

  2. I have trouble with the authority in good governance, even when you add ‘acceptable to those it affects’. I wonder if there isn’t something better or a better word which could be used….counsel, leadership?

    • You and I must be very alike. I was a consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator. When in training, we were put into type alike groups and given some sort of issue and then were to send someone up at the end to explain our consensus to everyone. My group ALL went up and each did part of the presentation. They told us that our type did this every single training group. And we were the only ones.
      I have always had issues with authority, but recently had an experience that has helped me recognize that groups need someone that ultimately is responsible and accountable. I challenged my church leadership over stopping an AA group from meeting in our parish hall. When several years after the fact, I heard the explanation, I finally realized that no one has authority in an AA group. The “buck” doesn’t stop. This group was allowing children to magic marker the walls in the Sunday School rooms, literally knocked a hole in one wall, small children were climbing out onto a second floor fire escape, and the adults were ignoring the stone urns with sand for cigarettes outside the doors and covering the yard with them. For six months our session had been asking that someone be put in charge of the children and that someone take responsibility for the trash in the yard. Growing up I had family members with alcohol issues and I realize how focused they have to be when trying to overcome their addiction. And in my hierarchy of values people are more important than buildings. But we are a small church that gives very generously to those in need in our town and to those around the world experiencing disasters and to young people needing help to go to college. We give so much that we struggle to stay solvent ourselves. And our session has the responsibility for good stewardship on how we manage to do this and to keep our facility decent. AA has no one in authority. No one who is ultimately responsible for the behavior of the group. I am a person who thinks outside the box and my strength is finding more ways to solve problems. I still think I could have found a member of another AA group that the group using our church could have taken up a collection to pay to take responsibility for these issues during their meetings. But I realized that our session of six people didn’t have someone whose mind works that way at that time and they didn’t want to do damage to the reputation of AA by spreading awareness of the problem. It was my first real understanding of a need for someone to have enough authority to take responsibility and to be held accountable in an imperfect world of imperfect people.

      • Ah…… it’s good to hear of your experience. My thoughts were based mainly on theory/ideas, although I have experienced authority as a receiver ( and a give in a minor way). And I am quite sure I would have been in the group where everyone did a presentation!

  3. Interesting too that author and authority share the same root.

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