Pages tagged "Featured Blog"
Any Successful Government Must Consider Not Only What Citizens Want, but What They Can Contribute
In the 20th century, the legitimacy of governments was based almost solely on the rule of law and the right to vote.
In the democratic upheaval of the 21st century, citizens still want the protection of laws and the ability to choose representatives, but those powers may no longer be enough to make government legitimate in the eyes of the people. In the future, governments may rise or fall depending on whether they give citizens meaningful roles in decision-making, problem-solving, and community-building.
Changes in democracy are occurring now because of tectonic shifts in the relationship between citizens and government. As a population, we are better educated than ever before. We are not as deferential to expertise and authority as we once were. And we are networked through the internet to an almost infinite number of potential connections and sources of information. In other words, the people have more capacity. The question of whether governments, civil society, and other institutions can develop the ability to unleash that capacity underlies most of the public problems we face.
This new reality of rising citizen capacity makes some public servants uncomfortable. Trapped in systems designed to protect their expertise, besieged by people who no longer believe their data or respect their authority, and faced with hostile constituents at public events, public officials are understandably skeptical about the virtues, capabilities, and good sense of their fellow men and women.
In our mission to "rebuild the middle ground" of United States politics, we are obviously fighting a losing battle. Pew lays out a pretty horrid landscape--and that was before the election. The left and right hate hate hate each other, and they may be caught in a downward spiral of distrust that tears the country apart.
If there's any hope to be had from this particular strategy, the middle ground needs to identify who's in it, and find each other--and fast.
The whole hypothesis of Wedged is that the cycle of mistrust is built on fairly reasonable people from each side buying into the idea that everyone on the other side of the political spectrum is a nutjob--where the nutjobs in fact represent a loud-but-small minority.
By Debilyn Molineaux.
I like to describe our country as “the big, raucous American family.” And there is hardly a better opportunity to build family connections than with games. Or a more revealing way to understand each other and ourselves, than by the tactics we use within the game.
My dad used to slip Monopoly money to my sister, because he couldn’t stand to see anyone ‘lose’. Our neighbor was outraged that my dad wouldn’t follow the rules of the game. Another card game we played with friends, ‘Nertz’ has a shared playing field and a private one... I was outraged when one of our friends refused to play in the shared field because it would benefit our team. He was in it to win...no holds barred. As you may imagine, I am accustomed to more coopetition than winner-take-all. (Thanks, Dad!) I learned much about people from playing games with them...and also tapped into my own hyper-competitive side on occasion.
The Bridge Alliance is proud to announce an investment strategic partnership between the Bridge Alliance and Invest America Fund.
The Bridge Alliance recently announced a $300,000 grant program to Bridge Alliance members who best qualify for investment funds based on the strength of their collaborative programs. A fundamental tenet that drives the Bridge Alliance strategy is the conviction that for significant political transformation to occur, a network must be established to build a shared identity, raise visibility, strengthen and expand the numbers of organizations and individuals dedicated to collaborative civic problem solving and collaborative public policy innovation. The funding of collective impact programs will drive this process.
Invest America has just launched it’s first national fund focused on bipartisan and nonpartisan policy reform and transformation. The fund provides seed financing and grants to the emerging community of political entrepreneurs whose core mission is to solve our toughest national problems.
Note: This Op-Ed responds to New York Times columnist David Brooks’ recent writing about the future of political centrism. The piece was originally published by The Hill, a Washington-based policy journal. It’s reposted here with permission.
In the wake of the 2016 election, analysts and pundits are now focusing on how Donald Trump’s ascent to power will recalibrate the ideological center of American politics. In a recent New York Times op-ed titled “The Future of the American Center,” David Brooks calls for a movement that will “deepen a positive national vision that is not merely a positioning between left and right.” Yet while Brooks’ program sounds appealing, the moderate media establishment’s conception of centrism lacks the cultural foundations necessary to build a viable political movement. Although political centrism seems reasonable and pragmatic, it has consistently failed to create an effective constituency. Despite the large number of voters who now register as independent, most reliably lean to one side or the other, and are actually more partisan than the least engaged members of either the Democratic or Republican parties.
A couple of months ago, I posted a blog called “E Pluribus Unum,” in which I described how participants in SLLF’s Emerging Leaders Program were able to set aside partisan and ideological differences to form a cooperative and cohesive unit. As I have watched this year’s campaigns become increasingly bitter and divisive and read that policy makers and the public seem more divided than ever, I have been trying to figure out what made this group of 50 legislators from across the country defy current trends and knock down the walls that separate so many of their colleagues and constituents.
Part II - The Factions of Change
In Part I The Cycle of Change, we explored the documented way culture has progressed through 500 years of Anglo-American history, as outlined in The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe. The 80 (or so) year cycle, or saeculum, includes four turnings:
We entered the fourth turning, the crisis period, in 2008 with the financial crisis and “Great Recession”. Now we will explore the factions and their relationship with each other that demand and resist progress or social change.
Our country is in crisis.
Divisions and factions appear everywhere we look. We are slicing and dicing ourselves into homogenous -- some say tribal -- groups where our thinking is validated and the “other” is increasingly demonized, dehumanized and assessed with evil intentions.
And it’s all happening on schedule.
We are witnessing the most dysfunctional campaign for the presidency in our lifetime. Does anyone really believe that despite the promises by all candidates that they will solve our problems that the real solutions to our nation’s problems will actually result? Unlikely.
As so often happens after presidential elections the media overplays the importance of the outcome in determining the direction our country will go. More often than not our national elections merely validate a leadership process that is systemically flawed.
The Bridge Alliance believes the citizens of the United States deserve more. Effective leadership on all sides of the political spectrum is sorely lacking and most change.
Like so many other Americans, I too have become frustrated with the unbridled lack of civility, crippling partisanship and dysfunctional gridlock that prevents our country from solving the serious problems we face on a daily basis.
Yet despite the demagoguery and rampant dysfunction that is so prevalent in today’s political process, I believe a unique opportunity exists to create a political movement based on civil discourse and critical thinking.
There is a historical shift underway in our political landscape, evidenced by events in both parties, from Democratic party leadership being booed at a rally of 11,000 Bernie Sander’s supporters at a rally in Oregon, and the turmoil which ensued at the Nevada State Party convention, to the Republican party grappling with the impending Donald Trump nomination. More and more Americans disavow themselves from the two party system. A January 2016 Gallup poll confirmed that 42% of adults identified as independents, less than 30% as both Democrats and Republicans, a proof point that Americans are tired of politics as usual and desire something different.