Public Engagement Change We Can Believe In

Below is an interesting piece about the Obama campaign by a fellow named Larry Greene. Although I’m not endorsing Obama, this message is written in the spirit of the Co-Intelligence Institute’s “Politician’s Pledge” and it reflects my own sense of Obama’s failure to create a truly transformational politics based on public engagement, public dialogue, public deliberation, public choice creating – in short, public wisdom, empowerment and self-governance. Obama won in 2008 largely out of people’s impression that he was going to do something like that, since he talked the talk. If people spreading the following analysis can stimulate Obama to walk the walk, then we’ll have made a breakthrough. Of course Romney is invited to trump Obama with real (not manipulated) public engagement. I also encourage all the 3rd party candidates to do so, too. Sooner or later somebody is going to actually do it, which will make all the difference in our political world. = Tom

The challenge the Dems and Obama face is that there are still a lot of
people–young people, blacks, Hispanics, and lots of white folk. If these
people don’t get out to vote, particularly in the swing states and in those
states where Republican governors and legislators have done their best to
restrict or prevent voters from voting, this could be a much closer election
for the presidency and, of equal, maybe even greater importance, in the
Congressional and state elections for governors and state legislators.

 

After Obama’s election in 2008, he had the chance to keep his connection
with the people intact through the offices established in every state and
multi-million person organization that was ready to continue doing the work
from the citizens level in bringing about “change we can believe in.” But
that organization was dismantled within a couple of months. Now the Obama
campaign is fighting hard to re-establish relationship and trust with these
folks.

 

So here are some musing on the subject:

 

Maybe this is a great opportunity for people to come together and say: We
like you. We like your words. We like a lot of what you have done to
deal with the mess you were handed. We understand that most Republicans
fought against you since Day 1. We understand the Democrats did not support
you as well as they could have.

 

But we also know that you broke a lot of promises to us and that when we
were ready to do the hard work to support your efforts to create “change we
can believe in” you quickly pushed us out the door after you won the White
House. You have to take some of the responsibility for creating the
situation you are now faced with as you try to convince us to work with you
again.

We need something more substantive for us to come on board.

 

Where is citizen engagement and empowerment in your political platform? I
have not heard any mention of how you are going to engage us more
meaningfully in the democratic, self-governance process in the next four
years.

If you want us to work with you, not just to win this election but to
sincerely want us to continue to work, on the ground, as citizens who
believe in all of us coming together and not only cooperating, but more
importantly to do so respectfully collaborating with people across the
political spectrum to achieve success when it comes to improving quality of
life for everyone in America, you need to empower us as a citizens
movement….with a direct connection to you….and to the power in
Washington, in our States, and in our communities to do this work.

 

In other words, we believe it is time to take our democracy to the next
level, beyond the ups and downs of partisan politics, that seems, these
days, to leave most of us holding the short end of the stick.

 

Now, if this could go viral, among all of the groups that are currently not
engaged in this election, it might spark virally with others through social
networking. Could it evolve into a process of asking Obama and the Dems to
step up and answer this question. If they come up with a real way of
finally having what many in our line of work, like Carolyn Lukensmeyer,
believed they might have after Obama was elected: a citizen’s forum that
was taken seriously by the folks in Washington. And this might be enough to
bring millions of Americans back into the campaign.

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