The Names in the Hat - Richard Ault
Author Richard Ault has written a prophetic work of fiction for today’s tumultuous times
The state of Michigan, with its beautiful lakes and streams, is known by its public-relations campaign, “Pure Michigan.” However, Charlie Birnbaum, who represents the Flint area in the U.S. Congress — a district plagued by poisonous lead in its drinking water — knows that the political system is largely responsible for the Flint crisis and other threats to Michigan’s invaluable waters.
Birnbaum runs for governor — and wins — as an independent populist with the slogan, “It’s not enough to change the players; we need to change the game.” One of his first moves is to sponsor a group of diverse and randomly selected citizens to propose changes to the state’s constitution.
Angelo RoundSky, a Native American from a northern Michigan reservation community, is selected for the group and reluctantly joins at the urging of his girlfriend. But his reluctance soon dissipates as significant life changes heighten his resolve to make a difference. He emerges as the acknowledged leader of the group.
The “Names in the Hat” (NITH) group must work through its own internal struggles, but with leadership from Birnbaum and Angelo, they weave together a fresh approach to democratic governance from something old (ancient Athenian democratic structures}, something borrowed (early Algonkian tribal vs. European views of authority}, and something new (the "Peer Progressive" movement identified by Steven Johnson in his book, Future Perfect).
Now they have to sell their proposals to the voters — against formidable, entrenched opposition from the forces of the status quo.