Obama Foundation Input

Barack and Michele Obama have launched the Obama Foundation at obama.org. That site includes a video and the following:

Your Voice

The Obama Foundation is a living, working start-up for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century. The Foundation is based on the South Side of Chicago, and we will have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.

To help us get started, we would love to hear from you. Send us your ideas, your hopes, your dreams about what we can achieve together. Tell us about the people who inspire you and the organizations whose work you admire.

This will be your Foundation just as much as it is ours.

“Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen.”

—President Barack Obama

What do you think makes a good citizen?

What ideals or actions come to mind when you think about citizenship?

Share an idea

What makes a good citizen?

Democracy is all about showing up, diving in, and staying at it. But how? Here at the Obama Foundation, we’re just getting started on what good citizenship in the 21st century means.

Your thoughts and ideas will make our Foundation a better, more powerful force for good. We can’t wait to hear what you’re thinking.

Share your stories with us. Tell us what issues you care about. Let us know what people, organizations, and companies inspire you to be a good citizen.

The site also has a form for input that asks:

What do you think makes a good citizen?

What ideals or actions come to mind when you think about citizenship?

With some formatting changes here, my response was:

Stay informed,

communicate with elected officials and fellow citizens,

listen to others respectfully,

be able and willing to collaborate,

join with and organize others as much as you can,

speak your truth,

acknowledge your mistakes and resolve not to repeat them,

consistently work to be a better person,

avoid name-calling,

tap your compassion more deeply,

commit yourself to the common good of the entire human family,

be present and willing to engage in mutually supportive relationships,

be willing to take risks,

don’t worry too much about failure,

overcome tendencies to be arrogant, judgmental, condescending, self-righteous, dogmatic, fearful, hateful, and deceitful.

The ideal action that comes to mind is participating in a Democratic Party that fights for its platform year-round with precinct-based clubs that enable neighbors to support one another in their self-improvement, with each individual setting their own goals. As I envision it, the Party would:

1) form an ongoing coalition with other groups that support its national platform and identify one priority at a time to focus on;

2) encourage its Congresspersons to work with local groups to raise money for that coalition;

3) hold hearings on and solicit input into that platform at least six months prior to the convention;

4) assure that each state party has a governing structure that is at least as bottom-up as the California party

5) tweak the Party’s structure to make it even more democratic (e.g., fewer superdelegates), and;

6) encourage its Congresspersons to facilitate civic participation by publicizing and convening a “community dialogue” at the same time each month, with the Congressperson or their chiefs of staff, that would select speakers randomly and be structured to maximize the opportunity for constituents to make statements and ask questions, as well as enable community groups to circulate literature at tables.


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