Press Freedom is Human 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…

Data Sovereignty Must Be Protected

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…

The Liberating Genius of Open Civics

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…

True Independence Requires Reciprocal Civic Empowerment

“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…

A Call for Global Citizenship

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…

Citizens Climate Lobby: A Peaceful Army of Citizens Doing Good

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…

The Subtle Gravity of Mandela’s Gift

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…

Future Voting: Free, Fair, Efficient

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…

Respect for Complexity Makes Democracy Possible

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…

Fear of Difference is Opposition to Democracy

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. It is a nation that has wrestled with vicious undercurrents of racism and xenophobia, and has emerged ever more democratic, generally trending toward a more perfect union representing the foundational ideals that were, in the 18th century, so far out of reach, but so necessary…