Democracy: New book tackles big idea


Author Harmen Boersma – who lived in Kemptville for 30 years before moving to Peterborough County – has written a book giving his own thorough take on a big topic: democracy. It turns out that many aspects of North Grenville life and politics partially inspired Harmen’s views. “I have a lot of happy thoughts in Kemptville,” said Harmen. 

A former elementary school teacher, Harmen published his book “Decisive Democracy: The Way of Life for All” three weeks ago. It is now available for purchase. 

Democracy is undoubtedly an important concept. Harmen believes that everyone doesn’t need to live the same way, but that we all need the same foundation in life. Democracy can provide that foundation, while personal responsibility determines each person’s unique way of life. 

“Decisive Democracy” is written to be enjoyed by everyone, but Harmen believes it may be most helpful and informative to young people (such as high school and university students) and new immigrants. For the latter group, Harmen notes that immigrants may not be familiar with democracy, depending on which country they have come from. “There is not a lot of democracy in countries around the world,” he added. 

Harmen is no stranger to writing. Before “Decisive Democracy”, he wrote four smaller books, one of which was translated from Dutch. He became interested specifically in democracy when he joined a political party in Canada and got particularly interested in how people think. He noted a situation he remembers when the Conservative Party had a leadership race, and two of the contenders constantly mentioned democracy, which made him think more about what makes it tick. 

After getting some writing started on the heavy subject, Harmen asked Friesen Press to do a manuscript evaluation which helped to encourage him and to focus. Now, with the finished product in his hands, Harmen is proud of his book. He feels that it summarizes a lot of the things that people need to know about life.

“I was astounded by how many books have been written about democracy,” said Harmen, noting that he has read a number of them. “Almost all books and most organizations that deal with democracy all look at democracy as a political entity. When you make democracy a political issue, you hand it over to the government. We are giving way too much power and credit to government, and not enough to personal responsibility.”

Some local level North Grenville governments in the past inspired some of the ideas in Harmen’s book. Other politicized situations, such as controversy that was stirred up when a local church wanted to host skating events, also played into the development of Harmen’s ideas. 

Ultimately, Harmen believes that people were created to be responsible to live out their own way of life within the four pillars of democracy, which he identifies as Family, Faith, Work, and Community. 

“Decisive Democracy” was published by Friesen Press, based out of Manitoba. It can be ordered from the publisher’s online bookstore. Many other online bookstores offer the book, and it is available at countless retailers around the world. Harmen encourages those interested in reading his book to shop around for the best price. Happy reading!


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