For a list of signers see here.
A Program for State Legislators Interested in Public Deliberation
which includes futher actions US citizens can take to engage their
It is time to move beyond modes of "public participation"
that frustrate citizens and public officials alike. It is time to
enable citizens, politicians and officials to tap into the latent
wisdom of their communities -- and then have that collective, thoughtful
voice be truly heard by all involved.
One approach is to get politicians to pledge that they will take
seriously any statement that emerges from a well-designed public
forum that include diverse community voices in creative ways to
reflect and serve the whole community.
The "Listen to the People
Pledge" is designed to do that. You can use it with incumbent
office-holders or aspiring candidates. You can modify it to gather
commitments from bureaucrats, technical professionals and agency
staff. You can use it at any level of our political system, from
ward and town all the way up to the national government. You can
bring it to political parties, as well.
Any individual, group or organization can bring this Pledge
to any politician or government, seeking their commitment to listen
to the people's common sense.
Note that in signing this Pledge,
the politician or official is not committing to convene or sponsor
any citizens' panels of the sort described in it. The Pledge actually
involves very little work on their part -- at least until a panel
has been convened and completed its work. Then the politician is
expected to tell the public how they will act on its recommendations
or explain why they can't.
Furthermore, this Pledge does
not limit or take away any decision-making power representatives
or officials already have. It simply gives The People a powerful
advisory role, and helps them see themselves as a coherent community,
rather than as nothing more than isolated individuals and competing
We see no legitimate reason -- so far -- for public officials to
not sign this Pledge. If they
do resist signing it, we are interested in hearing their objections.
We needn't worry at this stage about whether there are resources
to hold the citizens panels the Pledge
describes. When hundreds of politicians make this commitment --
or when even a few significant players in any one locale sign it
-- the prospect of having real impact will attract the resources
needed to start holding these forums. Each forum successfully held
will become an inspiring story to others.
This process may well snowball (feed on itself and grow rapidly).
Or we will learn valuable lessons for the next iteration of this
The more citizens who let us know they are working on this, the
more obviously substantial this effort will be -- and that will
attract funds for organizing staff and materials to make the whole
program bigger and better. Again, this could snowball.
This pilot campaign will only go where we all take it together.
We invite you to do any of the following, or whatever action feels
right to you.
- pick one or more politicians you think might be receptive,
and set up an appointment or luncheon to talk over this Pledge
- organize a campaign to get dozens of people to mail the Pledge
to them, asking them to sign.
- send the Pledge to everyone
you know, urging their involvement
- pass out fliers about it at events.
- hold a discussion about it in your living room or schoo
- engage your local media -- quietly or with a bit of creative
Then tell us what you've done. Just email
firstname.lastname@example.org with "Politicians Pledge Action"
in the subject line.
Especially in a big election year in the U.S., we can suggest
to any candidate -- and especially challengers seeking to make their
mark -- that this Pledge will
mark them as a candidate for the whole community, one who can ask,
"Why won't my opponent sign this Pledge?
Are they afraid of the people? This is no rabble we're talking about.
This isn't the usual suspects, the vociferous partisans screaming
their bias or pressuring us from the sidelines. This is ordinary
people, speaking to us with real knowledge of the issues they're
addressing. Why won't my opponent agree to listen to them? What
is he (or she) afraid of?"
Here is a chance to make a real difference.
Go for it.
the "Listen to the People" Pledge Campaign
of The Co-Intelligence Institute
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