WASHINGTON, Didn’t Change (D.C.)

Presidential and congressional candidates, SuperPACs and puny PACs and national and state parties have spent massive amounts of time and treasure with the promise of bringing you change this past Tuesday. So, what did we get? Not so much change.

Same president. Same house majority. Same senate majority. In other words, the same promise of gridlock.

So what will change? (more…)

BIG DOLLARS = BIG POLITICAL GUNS

Try as I might, I can’t help myself. I’m compelled to comment on the enormous increase in campaign spending in 2012; growth well over what was already an enormous amount in 2010. It’s easy to make the case that this burgeoning bag of cash is due to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United v. The Federal Elections Commission. And it’s easy to see that this multi-billion dollar political industry has been blessedly exempt from this recession. Yes, regardless of your political stripes you can rest well knowing that there are special interests paying their bills quite comfortably by weaponizing our political dialogue. You can do that with a multi-billion dollar political industry, you know.  You can buy a lot of ear and eyeball time with that kind of dough. You can also divert billions of dollars from other industries. Ask those working in non-profits, social services and the arts. (more…)

WHAT’S THE ANSWER TO OUR COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS? IT’S NOT OBAMA. IT’S NOT ROMNEY. IT’S SOMEONE MUCH CLOSER TO YOU.

Sick of dirty politics yet? Well buckle up because we still have a month and a half left before our next president is elected, and the “us versus them” game is only going to come on harder and stronger.

Whether it’s Mitt or Barack, the guy in the White House is going to be faced with challenges that are mighty, challenges that are sticky, challenges that won’t be solved in the short run.  No matter your political stripes, “hope” is not going to fix your world and no one candidate or party is going to swing that kind of weight in the short run either. (more…)

THE CITIZEN PRO/AM

Like many of my blogs, today’s post was inspired by a compelling article I recently read. It’s called Democracy is for Amateurs: Why We Need More Citizen Citizens, and it really speaks to the Naked Civics philosophy. Let me start off by sharing the last sentence in that piece:  “It’s time to democratize democracy again.” (more…)

CIVIC DESIGN GONE AWRY

When you hear the term “design,” you likely think of things like logos, Photoshop and well-oiled machines. What you likely do not think of is government. But, whether it’s good or bad, our government is a design.  We know the blueprint of our government as the Constitution and Bill of Rights of course.  And lately it would seem that, like so many other institutions in our country, our government is failing us.  But what if it isn’t the design of government, but rather the design of our politics that is to blame?  We’re not used to thinking of politics as separate and apart from our governmental institutions, but separating the two just may lead to a better ability to redesign and make what’s wrong, right while not messing with what’s actually working.   (more…)

TIRED POLITICAL LABELS AND THE WISDOM OF NO LABELS

Tired of tired old political labels?

Then how about joining No Labels? Just over a year ago or so, I started working with a great group of folks with the aim of launching a grassroots initiative for the political center. While Move On! aims its voice at the political left and the Tea Party is gathers its storm on the political right, No Labels intends to speak to the other 60% or so of the country: those people who believe fervently in making the United States a better version of itself, those who act from civic purpose and those who believe that there is wisdom in considering ideas from across the political spectrum. (more…)

COMMON SPACES FOR THE COMMON GOOD

We’re going to have to create some new spaces. Some of those should be physical spaces: green spaces, convening spaces, places where we can run into each other. Commons. All good. But we also create space in how we interact with each other. Capitols have become temples of conflict as more and more of the focus is on politics (how we talk at each other) rather than policy (how we’re actually going to live next to each other). Be mindful, this isn’t because capitols are full of bad people because in my experience most of the time quite the opposite is true. (more…)