To overcome the powerful, manufactured self-interested political and media forces that are keeping us from working together, we will apply our own resources -- time, energy, and money -- to build a citizen-led movement that serves civil society, our shared values, solutions to pressing community and national concerns.
The good news is that if we can learn to identify again first as members of a single community of citizens -- as Americans and less as partisans -- then the natural tribal forces in our human nature will turn and begin to work in our favor for our common good.
1. Assemble politically-balanced Community Groups (CG's)
It begins with something as simple as conversation. Issue by issue, we will engage the American people on the pressing concerns of our time.
We will conduct this engagement, through Living Room Conversations, at the most granular and intimate level, in private homes with diverse and politically balanced small groups of ordinary citizens.
Conversations will turn into relationships, and relationships into local teams dedicated to making government work better for all of us.
2. Help policy makers craft workable "deal" or policy proposals.
As common ground issues are identified by citizens, we will choose issues to propose to The Chisel, a cross-partisan non-profit that seeks to gets voter input on credible, bi-partisan policy proposals that are created by experts from our nation's leading think tanks. Watch their intro video here.
The Chisel has developed a system of reviewing proposals from experts from the nation's leading think tanks that are 1) bi-partisan, 2) credible 3) based on rigorous analysis.
Through its online technology platform, The Chisel's experts will:
- Frame workable policy proposals
- Serve as information resources for the Living Room Conversations
- Generate publicity through their political credibility and policy expertise
- Translate the consensus of the people into legislative action. The Chisel only supports proposals that meet the strict criteria of 1) bipartisanship 2) credibility 3) rigor of analysis.
We anticipate that some left-to-right solutions will be centrist in nature, while others will be “convergence” solutions, in which sub-groups on either side of the political divide find common ground. In many cases, we will discover outside-the-box solutions for seemingly intractable disagreements that surprise everyone. In a few cases, principled people on the Left and Right will agree to disagree, which is normal also, but hopefully all parties will walk away better informed, and maybe even also as friends.
3. Take informed collective action
Once bi-partisan solutions are created by The Chisel's policy experts and vetted by voters, The Chisel will communicate them to citizens and and find sponsors in Congress, keeping you informed every step of the way.
We intend to grown and sustain Community Groups over multiple election cycles until we get the results we want, and continue to use Living Room Conversations in person and online to grow our common ground. These Community Groups may even choose to engage in local or state action.
As citizens, we intend to commit to developing the skills of listening, mutual respect, assertive communication, open-mindedness, and gracious civic conversation both in person and online.
Our approach involves a long-term process of connection, engagement, and sustained action. However, this sustained action will be for positive bi-partisan solutions, rather than against the other side.