PeopleCount.org proposes a fix for American democracy, politics and government.
No one else proposes a fix
PeopleCount at this point, is an idea, plans, a blog, and some unfinished software. There’s no target launch schedule.
I believe a team of 3 could finish the software in 3 months, and complete an alpha and beta in 2-4 more months. We could powerfully begin to transform politics in 2017.
Since I’m the only one working on it, and I have a day job, and don’t have the front-end skills needed, the 9 person-months could take 3-6 years.
It’s depressing to think about. So much potential, wasting away.
I’ll keep looking for possibilities, ways to move forward…
Summary: PeopleCount proposes a web and phone-based communication and accountability system for politics. Continue reading
I started getting emotional a half hour ago. I can rise above it, but it remains a poignancy, just below the surface.
My wife asked me if I wanted to go to “our” synagogue’s annual retreat. She said they just decided that the topic will be politics. I could feel frustration swelling in the back of my brain, and said, “If they ask me to speak for an hour, I’d be happy to go. But I’m not going to spend money and a whole weekend just to try to interject a few comments or questions and feel frustrated all weekend.” She said “Okay, okay, I got it” and walked away.
Imagine you live in a Republican district. Imagine the incumbent is a tea party candidate. His ideas seem sort of extreme, but it was either him or someone who had been in Congress much too long. Continue reading
Strategically, is fighting the only option?
They have a party, we have a party. They have some wealthy donors plus grass-roots support, so do we. They have a powerful propaganda machine and no ethics constraining their statements. Our communication… well, it’s pretty random. To my thinking, there’s little.
Is communication another option?
Should a portion of our resources go into a new strategy?
I’m biased in this. I’ve seen a real solution. But from the trenches, it looks too far-fetched. We have a “culture.” It’s built of truisms that we traffic in daily that are not true. They’re convincing because we believe them, retell them, and our behaviors are synced with them. Those truths keep our vision inside-the-box. Yet with less than a percent of our political resources, we could change the paradigm of politics.
The current allocation isn’t working
Lots of people are certainly doing lots of different things. I’ve seen 4 types of efforts.
- Traditional political support for candidates
- Traditional political action and organizations
- Future thinkers
- Individuals trying to launch new ideas
The first two groups are the mainstay of our fight for a better future and a better-run America. We have some wins, but in the balance of power so far, we’re losing.
The future-thinkers seem to be doing nothing that can help. They’re too far in the future and working on small aspects of futuristic systems or problems we don’t have yet. They’re fine, and I hope someday what they’ve learned will be useful, but today it’s not.
The fourth group are trying to try new things, and are largely unsupported. Many that I’ve met even have a mindset that they’ll continue to be unsupported. I wish them luck.
We’re not supporting an new option
To me, it looks like we’re not supporting a real alternative. We’re stuck in the current paradigm, fighting a losing battle. Even if we win and gain some ground in the next election, we’ll still have the exact same dysfunctional system that put Obama in office and then lost control of both houses and lost even more ground in states.
Is that what you want? I’m offering a real alternative. From what I’ve seen, it’s the only other option that’s realistic. The few people who’ve studied it started out thinking it wouldn’t work. After a lot of effort, they began to see a new possibility. It takes work to understand it. It takes work to unearth the cultural myths that cloud our view. On the other hand, we know how to divert a small percentage of our resources.
What if people don’t research? Someone on Facebook said PeopleCount is interesting, but it won’t work because of “assumption that people are rational and will take the time to research candidates.” We do not assume these.
I hate to research, but I’ll vote if it makes a difference
I’m a nerd, and even I hate researching candidates. Every so often I hear something negative about one of my incumbents. But elections are so expensive, there’s never a choice. And even if there is a bit, It’s too hard to research. Media has bias and rarely reports about the candidates on the issues I’m concerned about. Most of the important ones are never even covered by the media.
I don’t want to research. But I WILL read a short report on an issue I’m concerned. If I get to grade it, I’ll even pay attention! But only if the grade is counted and the tally is public. I don’t want to judge representatives relative to each other. But I’ll judge both on a single issue. IF they’ll account to me about it.
Millions of people sign Change.org petitions. Why? Partly just do SOMEthing. The feedback on them is almost nil. I want the feedback. I want to see that it’s making a difference.
PeopleCount gives you a reason
Today, not only do people not research candidates, but most don’t even research issues. And they care about issues. What’s the point? The more you know, the more frustrated you are. Without the insane-curiosity bug (that the “elite” have), there’s really no reason. So most people don’t. If we get to vote on decent issues on PeopleCount, there’s suddenly a reason.
Let’s say I see a post on Facebook about how I can now vote on an issue I care about.
I go there, and there are some good solutions. “Oh, THAT’s a possibility? I think I like that.” And then I see another interesting one. Do I want one, the other, or both? So I make a choice.
Next time I hear something about it, having voted, I’ll listen more. I might even ask a knowledgable friend about it. A week later I get a notice that the voting has gone from a hundred to a thousand people on one issue. “Can this really happen?” When I hear occasional news about it, I listen even more carefully.
Then come’s a report from a challenger. She says the issue has been known to be popular for a decade, but my incumbent has done nothing about it. “That’s just wrong,” I think to myself. I give the challenger and A and the incumbent, who hasn’t yet filed a report, an E.
The media picks up on it and suddenly there’s local news about how bad the incumbent is on this very popular issue. It’s almost two years before the next election and the challenger is getting free news!
Then the incumbent reports and gives some excuses. “Fair enough,” I think. I give him a C. The challenger then reports and tells me some of the incumbent’s conflicts of interests on this issue. There are even two links to sources. I click on one- it seems real. I change that last grade to a D…
Making a difference
I’ll bet BEFORE the election comes, Congress actually passes the legislation.
I’ll bet that WHEN the election comes, people vote him out anyway.
And then the count, in my district, hits 100,000.
There’ve been voting sites before. They failed, for a variety of reasons. Mainly, they failed because they couldn’t make a difference. PeopleCount will not make those mistakes. We’ll make a difference.
PeopleCount probably won’t ever launch without backing. My current cold-letter to potential funders is below. You’re welcome to forward it to anyone who’d like to help fix American democracy.