An overwhelming majority of Americans now believe our government is not working the way it should. Most now see a government dominated by competing special interests, tied up in partisan gridlock and unable to solve the problems our nation faces.
‘We the People’ Need a Greater Voice in Government
Americans believe, as did the Founders, that the common sense of the people can help break through the polarization and gridlock, find common ground, and help government better serve the common good, not the special interests.
Research shows they’re right. The American people are less polarized than Congress and more apt to find common ground. When given correct information, the public as a whole shows remarkable intelligence. And most people think about the common good, not just what’s in their own interest.
Clearly, hearing from the people would help Congress make better decisions, but the current systems we use for giving the people a voice are just not adequate:
- Telephone calls, emails and letters to Congress are not reliable indicators of actual public opinion. Too often these inputs are generated by organized interests, or extreme voices that are not truly representative.
- Standard polls are often based on off-the-cuff responses or misinformation.
- Most citizens don’t have a way to effectively engage on the issues. Lots of information is available to the public, but much of it is raw, overly complex, or biased. There’s no honest broker the people can turn to for clarifying options, tradeoffs, and competing arguments on the policy issues Congress considers.
When the people don’t have an effective voice, organized interests dominate the debate, leaving the public frustrated and Congress tied up in partisan gridlock.
Leaders agree, our system is broken
We Need a Fundamentally New System for Giving the People a More Effective Voice. Now there is a way.
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820