Bridging the Divide
by David Nevins
More Americans then ever are frustrated with the unbridled lack of civility, crippling partisanship and dysfunctional gridlock that is preventing our country from solving the serious problems we face on a daily basis.
After more than 225 years, the Constitution of the United States still prescribes the fundamental laws and basic freedoms of our country and continues to delineate the framework of our government. Despite its magnificence, however, the Constitution does not fully address the particulars in which the “We the People” are to utilize its marvelous blueprint for self-governance. Our Founding Fathers’ own words reflect the vision they shared for this country of many differences. They called ours, a government: “Of the people, by the people and for the people.”
And so how can We The People make a difference in the direction our country is going? One answer is that as frustrating as the times are, now more then ever, citizens have the ability to change the very nature of how our government functions. With the phenomenal growth of the Internet and social media networking, millions of Americans are now forming powerful alliances that can truly make a difference.
There is a rising American tide of conservatives, liberals, and independents, centrists and moderates all looking for something different. They are bridging the growing divides in our political system, while knowing that our leaders must work together to solve the great challenges facing our nation.
Run For America, a citizen-powered movement is strategically recruiting, training, and working to elect a new generation of leaders to Congress who are committed to a solutions-first, future-focused, and innovative approach to tackling our major national challenges.
Voice of the People: A Campaign for a Citizen Cabinet is pioneering new methods of collective citizen intelligence that is also offering solutions to some of our greatest challenges.
The Village Square hosts regular town hall meetings that bring people together, who may begin by disagreeing with each other, but are willing to talk often come to like each other, while respecting their differences and finding commonalities. The forging of these new relationships amongst citizens and the building of an informed and engaged citizenry is an important step in changing the political process in our country.
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, a network of thousands of innovators who bring people together across divides to tackle today’s toughest challenges, serving as a resource clearinghouse, a news source, and a facilitative leader for this extraordinary community.
Living Room Conversations are bringing these kinds of deliberations across divides into our living rooms and are allowing friends and families, who often cannot talk about politics, to do so in an atmosphere of safety and civility.
These are just a few of the many organizations, whose thousands of members are doing important work to heal the divide in America. Citizens from across the country are joining groups like the above to urge their Congressional representatives to put country before party and address the serious problems that face our country.
The reforms that are needed are many. Some that are being addressed include:
— Changing the primary system so that independent voters are not excluded from the electoral process,
— Addressing the pervasive problem of money in politics in multiple ways.
— Lobbying to modify a gerrymandering process that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party by creating partisan advantaged districts.
— Modifying the rules of Congress that often discourage open dialogue and collaboration.
The work of citizens from across the country to bring innovative solutions to some of our governmental dysfunctions is in its early stages. Our task is challenging. Many of my friends and associates say the system can never change. I say that our Founding Fathers were considered to be idealists by some, but these men recognized that changes were inevitable and necessary. We can and will build upon their brilliant and exemplary framework to continue what they initiated but did not complete. It is time to draw upon these successful experiments and models of dialogue, collaboration and collective citizen intelligence to create a complementary and integrative process of governance in our country.