Bearing witness: the transformation of American government

Bearing witness: the transformation of American government

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Seems to be that major American history is being written right now in
Washington and many state capitols, something that has begun to change our
lives, something that's very underreported currently.

People are reinventing government from the bottom up and on the inside.
They're a mix of pragmatists, who know how government works, and people
who know how technology, particularly social media, can revitalize
organizations.  (I tend to view 'em as "wonks" and "nerds.")

This starts with a large scale conversation, where government workers and
citizens can tell their leaders what's really going on in the real world,
and can discuss how to improve all our lives. Government workers can
provide improved public service, believing in the "nobility of public
service."

Another perspective: this complements traditional American representative
democracy with something new: large-scale, networked grassroots democracy.

Some folks call this Gov2.0, eGovernment, or We.gov. Whatever you call it,
it's real.

Personally: I fear I'm still having difficulty articulating this, or its
importance, even when working with increasingly large numbers of
government workers.

However, they're transforming America, and need to be heard.

I bear witness to that, and will continue to do so.

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7 Comments

william perrin

things are changing over the in UK too (putting taxpayer funded moat-cleaning to one side)
At a grass roots level, hyperlocal publishing by citizens allows them to hold people to account on a grass roots agenda not a manufactured 'news' 'angle'. this isn't as glamorous as the old media might like but it is more real and at least seems to have greater legitimacy
see this example about utilities digging up the roads that our councillor weighs in on
http://www.kingscrossenvironment.com/2009/05/digging-in-kings-cross-disruption-from-the-railway-lands.html
I am now launching a scheme to create hundreds of community-owned hyperlocal sites using extant free platforms (not sites in commercial hyperlocal ad platforms)
http://talkaboutlocal.org/
Something i did in a previous job for UK central government – that you seemed to like craig – the power of information agenda – tries to open up national government to the sorts of forces you identify
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-newmark/uk-power-of-information-t_b_165013.html
But it is very challenging for bureaucracies to learn new ways of communicating – leadership is vital.

Angela Von Buelow

Hi Craig-
Thanks for this post, exciting stuff.
Are there currently any new We.gov. type sites up, where one can leave feedback for government leaders, they read it and respond?
I would use a site like that.
Thanks,
Angela

Fred

The saying "Use it or lose it" likely also applies in this instance too. In this manner no single scheme holds sway, influences or impedes the progression of all others. Its the way the wild natural world retains some semblance of stability wherein all manner of sizes shapes, tones, and functions comprise [make up] the whole and constitute the multifarious parts of the whole. It is not the diversity that jeopardizies the stability of the whole but the fear ridden waywardness of individuals who assume to impose and deter, detract or confer for minimally and narrowly serving reasons, becoming predatory and destructive and functioning injuriously and with no regard for the well-being of the stablizing whole.
Do not even brain cells soon atrophy when no varied muscle cells develope to continue to reinvigorate them?
From: A report on "World Homeostasis"

Fred

6/22/09 12:3-45 AM
There is need to in every manner encourage diversity, improvisation and creativity among the worlds variously talented peoples with varied acquired skills and numerous abilities brought to bear upon human needs to resolve, upgrade, stabilize, ameliorate, rejuvenate etc in well coordinated/ governed manner. The function of government in such a context is not to favor the few but to ensure the progression of the whole.

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