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Speak up for good government.



One of my daily news sources is the 1440 Daily Digest. I find it to be an unbiased daily snapshot of what happened in the last 24 hours. Here's an excerpt from their July 3 digest that I found to be very uplifting:


Tuesday (July 4th) marks the 247th commemoration of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress. The Congress actually voted to separate from Great Britain two days earlier, and most didn't sign the document until August ... and some argue the US didn't really become a country until we began operating under the Constitution in 1789.


Still, since then, the country has grown from 13 colonies with about 2.5 million people to 50 states and 14 territories with a population of more than 330 million. The economy has swelled to over $26T, with a median household income above $70K.

Scientific and technological advances—public sanitation, the germ theory of disease, and more—have revolutionized public health, with our citizens living 35 years longer on average since the mid-20th century. Deaths during childbirth have dropped fiftyfold, while the child mortality rate—the percentage of children dying before age five—has plummeted from 45% to 1%.


We've built almost 4 million miles of paved roads and more than 5,000 public airports. More than 2.7 million miles of power lines electrify the country, with about 85% of households having access to broadband internet and 92% having at least one computer. In 1800, 95% of the population lived in rural areas, and now about 83% live in urban areas.


Almost 90% of adults have a high school degree or equivalent, while just over one-third have a college degree. About 45 million immigrants call America home—the most of any country—while a roughly equal number of international tourists visit each year.


While there will always be challenges to face and improvements to make, we've come a long way since the beginning.


I would not have started Speak Up for Good Government if I wasn't very concerned about our democracy and didn't feel that we can expect much more from Congress and the Federal government. But we have come a long way in 247 years. Hopefully that progress will continue in the next 247 years!


Also this month:


I agreed to chair the Center for Electoral Quality and Integrity. Much more on that in August.


I've added some new website resources:

  • Allsides and the News Literacy Project to Accurate and Unbiased Voter Info.

    • AllSides is a media technology and solutions company that strengthens our democratic society with balanced news, media bias ratings, diverse perspectives, and real conversation. They expose people to information and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum so they can better understand the world — and each other.

    • The mission of the News Literacy Project is to build a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals — and ultimately a stronger democracy.

  • Win Together to Commitment to Excellence. Win Together® exists to enable performance excellence in local governments.

Have a great month!

Much of what we hear, both from traditional media and social media, highlights the extreme polarization and tribalism in our government and our country. These huge issues prevent us from working together to solve difficult problems.


A recent poll by NewsNation indicated that three-quarters of Americans say members of Congress should be willing to compromise and prioritize bipartisan legislation over standing with their party, including 84% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans. However, three-quarters of respondents have little confidence that the two parties will be able to work together in a bipartisan way over the next two years.


That poll provides an extraordinary snapshot of voters' lack of faith in our federal government. I hope that you all can take some solace in examples of organizations that are actively working to promote discourse and effective problem solving:

In addition to my principles of respect for opposing views and commitment to problem solving that were themes for the last two months, partnership with the public remains a cornerstone of government effectiveness. Public consultation ensures that citizens get information on key issues facing our country, and thoughtful analysis of public opinion equips our elected officials with solutions supported by bipartisan majorities. In addition to opening our minds to opposing viewpoints, we need to demand that our elected officials commit to solving problems leveraging bipartisan solutions forged from opposing viewpoints.


In other news:

Have a great month and a great Fourth of July holiday.


The overriding theme for this month's newsletter is R-E-S-P-E-C-T!


On this Memorial Day I want to express my respect and gratitude for those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The broader theme of this month's newsletter is respect for those that have different opinions or beliefs than our own.


The fifth of Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This principle is also applicable to a highly effective democracy.


We all have an instinct to negatively judge those whose opinion or outlook is different than ours. Hillary Clinton famously said, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables." She clarified that she was being "grossly generalistic," but this example epitomizes the tendency for people in all walks of life to label and disrespect groups who do not share their beliefs.


Rather than discounting or disrespecting opinions that differ from our own, we would all be better served to take a moment to try to understand and embrace different perspectives.


Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending a Braver Angels national member meeting. Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics through grassroots organizing. The primary areas of focus for the member meeting were their upcoming National Convention and the recent launch of their Braver Network.


The National Convention, which will be held in Gettysburg, PA in early July is expected to have 600 "politically balanced" delegates. They have assembled a very robust agenda, which will be punctuated by voting on an actionable platform at the end of the convention. For those that are interested in attending, delegate applications are still being accepted.


The Braver Network is open to any organization that wants to be part of the solution (i.e. broad based movement for civic renewal). There are already 138 organizations that are part of the Braver Network, and I strongly encourage organizational representatives that are reading this newsletter to consider joining this outstanding network.


Posts and additional info from the past month:

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Have a great month!




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