On Saturday, June 26th, nearly 4,000 Americans from all walks of life participated in an all-day country-wide deliberation on the nation's fiscal future. Town hall meetings held in 19 sites occupied the main stage for the day, with smaller scale discussions in more than 40 additional communities across the country and online venues for participatory input as well. The event, organized by AmericaSpeaks had all the markers of political deliberation, American-style: electronic keypads and networked computers that lent a technologically updated verisimilitude to George Gallup's idea of palpating the "pulse of democracy" and, of course, lots of political contestation (more on this below).
Mohandas Gandhi once declared, in his inimicably insightful and economical manner that “those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” The same could be said, in obverse, of politics vis-à-vis religion. We often bemoan the paucity of concrete policy debates in an election or lampoon incumbent presidents for declaring