The Weekly Update

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Empowering New, Young Leaders in this New Decade

It is difficult for young people to become active participants in our democratic republic. Before you’re 18, you aren’t allowed to vote or run for public office. So when young people go to college, becoming politically engaged isn’t automatic. It can take a backseat to coping with living on their own for the first time, along with handling a more challenging course load and entirely new social dynamics, including people whose political views are shaped by entirely different life experiences. This is one of the reasons why youth empowerment organizations are so critical to the healthy self-governance movement. It is vital to help young Americans build civic habits early on, which is why the Bridge Alliance is thrilled to welcome the higher education focused Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) and high school focused Civics Unplugged to the Alliance.

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Collaborating on Conversations -- and How Congress is Failing Whistleblowers

A large part of the Bridge Alliance’s work revolves around conversations. “Bridging Ideological Divides” is the biggest category of membership (31 organizations), and “Facilitating Citizen / Government Interaction” isn’t too far behind (19 organizations). With so many member organizations interested in encouraging dialogue to bridge the divide and find common ground, there are numerous opportunities for collaboration. The Center for the Study of Liberty (CSL) is taking full advantage by partnering with two of the biggest names in citizen discussions -- Better Angels and Living Room Conversations (LRC). On February 19th, CSL will host John Wood, Jr. of Better Angels for a conversation about “the ‘unmooring’ that took place in 2016, the influence of college campuses on our national dialogue, the importance of rebuilding our ‘emotional economy,’ and much more.” 

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You Want a Job in the Movement? Bookmark This Website

People regularly ask me how they can get a job in the healthy self-governance movement. Usually my advice is to attend different events, network, and check out Bridge Alliance members’ websites. This has always felt unsatisfying. While I understand that, until very recently, you had to scour the newspaper and make phone calls to find a job (trust me, I did all of that!), this is 2020 for goodness sakes! It should be easy for employers and job seekers in our field to find each other (see, e.g., Indeed, Idealist, ZipRecruiter, etc.).

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The (Capitol) Hill Has Gotten Rocky

The Hill -- and especially the House -- is a tough place to work. As Kevin Kosar of the R Street Institute recently testified, staffers are underpaid, overworked, and there’s not enough manpower to go around (as a former constituent services representative who earned ~$30k while working 74 hour weeks...I can confirm). Furthermore, members of the House are constantly under the gun to raise reelection funds, since they are “up for reelection” the moment they get sworn into office. Meanwhile, the American people are upset because nothing seems to ever get done, and the media profits off of the frustration by feeding us a never ending soap opera that not even General Hospital can rival.

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Rebelling in the American Tradition

Featured Blog Post: Impeachment, the Infographic, and the Messy Desk Subscribe to the podcast How Do We Fix It! And check out Episode 235: 2020: Celebrating Collaborations and Sharing (Debilyn is interviewed!) Rebellions in a democracy / republic look much different than in most other systems of government. There’s no need to stage a coup or bring out a guillotine when the system itself allows for significant reforms and power swings at the behest of the people. Our system obviously isn’t perfect (*cough* looks around *cough*), but it’s possible to upend the status quo without shedding a single drop of blood. To be clear, that does not mean working within the system is the only way to bring about real change. Our country has a long history of civil disobedience -- including such nonviolent techniques as boycotting, picketing, etc. -- which has long been considered a legitimate form of protest.

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The Alliance Welcomes Two Orgs Dedicated to Civics, And Welcomes Back a Third

If you unsubscribe from our updates (don’t test this out!), you get a message saying “you are always welcome to come back.” That invitation applies to many former members as well. Bridge Alliance member organizations are like family members, and family can drift apart. But like family, reunions can be extra sweet when the circumstances are right.

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It’s 2020...Let’s Stay Focused

It’s officially the year 2020, and that means that we have a highly consequential election upcoming. If you’re reading this, I can confidently say that you have a strong opinion about which party’s nominee should control the White House in 2021. I can also confidently say, though, that the winner of this election -- regardless of who they are -- will not fix America. That’s because there’s no silver bullet for fixing our system, and no single program, organization, or individual is capable of creating the type of change that we need; our problems are simply too numerous and complex.

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You Say You Want a Revolution. Well, You Know.

When I was deciding on the title of this Update, the first thing that came to mind was the Beatles’ song “Revolution.” That song was released in the late 1960’s, during a time of social and political confusion and upheaval. I think we can all agree that we are once again experiencing social and political confusion and upheaval. For me, all of this confusion naturally leads to the question “How does our nation get to the other side; to a better place than where we are today?" While no one can say what the answer is for sure, I’m seeing reasons to be hopeful. 

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A Visible Consensus (Pardon the Pun)

In researching what Bridge Alliance member organizations have been focused on lately, two themes emerged: Americans agree on a lot Videos and images are a good way to show that agreement Thus, we discovered there was a lot of visible consensus. For instance, RepresentUs got another assist from Hollywood; this time with Michael Douglas carrying the torch on behalf of the 87% (!!) of Americans who want their representatives to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act. Meanwhile, Convergence released its own video discussing how they build consensus among stakeholders with seemingly irreconcilable differences.

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#GivingTuesday is Over …. Long Live #GivingTuesday

Another #GivingTuesday is in the books. According to GivingTuesday.org, this charitable phenomenon generated nearly $2 billion in online and offline donations in the USA alone this year. And that’s incredible. Indeed, we are especially proud of #GivingTuesday’s impact given that Bridge Alliance member 92Y created the concept! That said, #GivingTuesday is just one day each year. It’s a very important day, but if our ultimate goal is healthy self-governance, we must work towards that goal year round. That doesn’t mean donating every day, but it does mean consistently thinking about what you can contribute and how you can be part of the solution.

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