Today, we honor the day American independence was declared, and the fact that our independent republic still stands 243 years later. We pride ourselves on being a democratic society, where the value of human freedom and dignity carries more weight than the whims of those who wield power. There are many reasons we must remain … Continue reading Environmental Security is Freedom
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the freedom of the press, because without solid evidence-based knowledge of fact, no human mind is sovereign, and democracy cannot exist. Facts in evidence: People make choices. Choices have consequences. Societies are made of these consequences. Power leverages the instruments of society to re-shape … Continue reading Press Freedom is Human Freedom
People must be free to seek, learn, know, and share verifiable truth. Recent investigative reports suggest Cambridge Analytica illegally accessed and weaponized the Facebook data of 50 million users, touching 57 billion “friend pairs”, as part of a coordinated plot to distort the informational environment around tens of millions of American voters, to block access … Continue reading Data Sovereignty Must Be Protected
My father’s father, whom we called J.R., was ideologically conservative and a committed Republican. He came to New Jersey from Indiana, to train with the Army Signal Corps, before shipping out to an around-the-world tour of duty in World War II. He ran for and won elective office as a mayor and state legislator. He … Continue reading The Liberating Genius of Open Civics
“A republic… if you can keep it…”
The work of building up to a better outcome has always already begun, before we have a chance to think about the work itself or its necessity.
The act of leading, then, is a recognition of the forces that are converging and a conscious understanding of how to work with them, when and to what purpose.
Having just arrived back from a journey to the heart of our democracy, I am again affirmed in the feeling that our democracy is deeply personal. And so, the success of our democracy depends on the intimate experience each participant has of the democratic process.
Report from the World Bank / IMF Civil Society Forum
In the years I have been attending and contributing to the World Bank / IMF Civil Society Policy Forum, I have witnessed a distinct and ongoing evolution. Multilateral institutions like the World Bank and IMF, which are funded by and directed by governments, and which do business with governments, have direct impacts on elements of society that are not in the room when decisions are made. So civil society organizations have an important role to play in highlighting and reducing major risk areas, and in shaping policies that lead to better outcomes.
It is my great privilege to be working for Citizens Climate Lobby. After four years volunteering with this tremendous family of committed, engaged citizens, all collaborating to ensure a safe, secure climate future, through genuine democratic process, this month I was hired as Strategic Coordinator. I don’t think it would be possible to find a more rewarding and inspired group of people to work with on a day to day basis, and the work itself allows me the blessed experience of using my abilities to help others to be the constructive future-builders they long to be.
Nelson Mandela has died. The news comes across, by any medium, from any lips, as something we have to pause to consider with awe and disappointment. It was a privilege to share some of the time this great soul lived on this Earth, and it is a sad day for the world that he is no longer among us. The reasons for this are much talked of, but the subtle gravity of his gift to us may still be too little understood.
We know of the persecution he suffered, the atrocious and unconscionable treatment he endured, only because a cruel regime wanted to silence his principled cry for justice and fair treatment. We know of his commitment to tolerance and inclusion, and the unshakeable wisdom with which he pushed that vision, not only in his own country, but into the wider world.
We need to admit two things about elections: first, they need to be 100% citizen-centered; second, citizens need to go the extra mile whenever necessary to make elections work. The first point is about legitimacy; the second is about making sure we can have it, given the imperfection of all systems known to date. Every … Continue reading Future Voting: Free, Fair, Efficient
We’ve all had conversations where someone has fallen into the temptation to argue that simplicity is the most necessary quality for anything that can stand the test of time. But the natural world builds resilience into systems of all kinds by fostering unrelenting complexity; the key feature that makes complexity work is the intelligence with which diverse and competing interests fit together to achieve the wider aim of standing up against external threats, decay and decline.
In the landscape of public policy, this means rethinking our attitude about the problematic complexity inherent in dealing independently with a wide variety of diverse and competing stakeholder interests. It is, of course, easier for those who have to decide what adjustments to make, regarding any policy or practice, to exclude most stakeholders and only answer the needs of those whose interests fit simply and comfortably with their own. But then, that is not democracy.