This page is being launched with some visions and possibilities proposed in Empowering Public WIsdom. Others that evoke or empower public wisdom are also welcome.
Imagine that all these are true and happening now....
- Deliberapedia, a wiki-like website and associated social network, are active supplying the public with balanced information on major public issues (“framings for deliberation“). Diverse partisans participate in clearly stating their positions in ways ordinary citizens can readily digest without messing up each other's postings (because they can't!).
- A national social network and online community called The People's Voice Network uses an online infrastructure to organize local grassroots citizen deliberations that have rigor and legitimacy comparable to professional citizen deliberative councils. These self-organizing councils are much cheaper than the pros because they make extensive use of the potentials of the internet and are supported by crowdfunding "community supported deliberation" like community supported agriculture .
- Randomly selected citizen Wisdom Councils are occurring in communities all over the country, articulating periodic We the People's state-of-the-community declarations. They are convened once, twice or four times a year, depending on the community, often with great fanfare. They generate a strong whole-community sense of We the People that promotes more dynamic grassroots engagement, with public officials therefore paying much more attention to their community's views and needs.
- More and more politicians are signing the Politicians Pledge committing to take seriously the recommendations of any duly convened citizen deliberative council. In many elections, who has and hasn't signed it becomes a major issue, resulting in pressure for all candidates to sign it. Citizen deliberative councils (CDCs) are also being used to interview and report to voters on candidates, and to review their work while they are in office. (This is quite in addition to the increasing use of CDCs to review proposed legislation, budgets, and even corporate social, environmental, and economic integrity.)
- Frequent community Open Spaces, World Cafés, Study Circles and other public conversations are happening all over the country, helping communities work through major public issues and self-organize to deal with local situations and transformations.
- American Citizens Engaged - an organization of citizens who have participated in quality public dialogue and deliberation - are actively promoting a culture of public conversation and, especially, overseeing the quality of official citizen deliberations. They've called out a number of efforts to manipulate public conversations, to provide inadequate facilitation, and to co-opt citizen campaigns to empower public wisdom. They work with and get trained by professionals in public wisdom-generating conversations.
- People use a specially-designed website to connect up with others for organizing and lobbying in favor of particular policy options. A major network of these folks works to institute policies that have emerged from public wisdom processes.
- A People’s Voice Party is fielding scores of candidates who campaign largely by convening public wisdom processes and then advocating whatever those citizen councils recommend. This party uses all the tools of party and partisan advocacy politics but they exist to promote whatever an inclusive, legitimate We the People wants!
- Citizen Initiative Reviews are operating in every state, reviewing all ballot initiatives and sharing what they learn with voters. This institution is so effective that initiative initiators are beginning to convene their own citizen councils to create ballot initiatives that will survive the CIR process!
- A direct-democracy national initiative process is being established, thanks to the success of the National Citizens Initiative for Democracy (NCID) which proposed a Constitutional Amendment and an accompanying law that everyone in the US could vote for. The law includes a CIR-like deliberative process in its national ballot initiative protocol, allowing citizens to propose and vote for federal legislation directly. More people supported the NCID proposal than had voted for any presidential candidate in the last 50 years, and so it is being declared authorized even though the process of its acceptance had bypassed normal Constitutional Amendment procedures. We the People acted like the original founders, simply declaring into existence the government we wanted.
- Most states have a citizen legislature made up entirely of randomly selected citizens serving 3 year terms. Citizens in those states are actively organizing a Constitutional Amendment campaign to inaugurate a randomly selected citizen legislature that replaces the House of Representatives.
- A network of journalists - print, broadcast, bloggers and more - are helping to generate and spread the emerging wisdom of We the People in high quality dialogue, deliberation, and choice-creating conversations. They co-convene community conversations with community leaders, report on the plans, interview the participants before and after, and publicize the outcomes in media. They report the conflicts, but unlike ordinary journalism, they report how the conflicts were resolved - especially in ways that allow observing citizens to vicariously participate and join in those resolutions.
- Extensive research is being done to upgrade the potency, legitimacy, and replicability of citizen deliberative councils (CDCs) generally. In one promising experiment, three parallel CDCs on the same topic were held, with the similarities and differences in outcome noted. The members of those councils were mixed into a new set of three separate CDCs, each of which was facilitated using Dynamic Facilitation . The outcomes of those councils were very similar. The same two-step CDC process was done with separate randomly selected citizens and the results were remarkably similar, giving great hope that a deliberative process with the predictive rigor of public opinion polling could be found. Research is also underway to enhance the briefing process - especially for participants with diverse intellectual styles and to engage participants with normally complex scientific and philosophical material needed for wisdom-generation - and to reduce the expense of CDCS and engagement of the broad public with the results.
- Major funders and crowdfunding initiatives are pouring money into these innovations so that public wisdom emerges rapidly and puts irresistable pressure on policy makers. And thousands of activists, organizers and web designers and programmers are eagerly volunteering their time. It is all happening so fast that people who would ordinarily want to stop it only realize what's going on when it is already widespread and beloved by the vast majority of the population.
Would you like to help any of these happen?