We come, finally, to the actual, concrete program for our New American Spring. Here, we see the organizational innovation which will embody all the previously visited ideas, aspirations, and insights of the foregoing pages.
This Program will consist of three organizational entities: I. the New American Spring foundation, and its two, sister organizational structures—II. the Citizens Activated network of adult, civics associations, and III. the Youth Invigorated youth formations organization. By defining each of these structures, the Social Program will be fully explained. I will then end with a vision for the kick-off event of this movement: IV. the New American Spring First Leaders Conference.
I. The Foundation
The specific purpose of the New American Spring Foundation will be to raise and disperse start-up and developmental funding for its forenamed sister organizational structures, as well as to provide overall leadership within the Social Program. This foundation will have a national, remote board of directors who will meet online, and will have an overall CEO, preferably the founder. This individual will travel throughout the United States, further spreading the message, fundraising, and overseeing the initial start-up processes of the sister organizations. He or she will also continue to develop the message and vision of the social curriculum through his or her writing, hosting of think tanks, and through his or her participation in annual leadership conferences with the executive leaders of the sister organizations.
II. Citizens Activated Associations
Citizens Activated will be a loose network of civics associations. These associations will avoid central leadership essentially in order to escape the corrupting influence of a Tyranny of the Majority (popular factions) as well as Party Infiltration (co-option) by forces unfriendly to the real interests of the American people. Today, for instance, while the American people are convinced to vote for one candidate or other, they are ever more beginning to sense the inadequacy of their options. Citizens Activated is therefore designed to return all legitimacy to the peoples’ representatives by marrying said representatives most closely to the true sentiment of We, The People.
The American political landscape has long assumed the character of the Village of Hamelin, where the Pied Piper swayed unwitting children to their doom by playing alluring but sinisterly deceptive tunes. The political ad machine of American politics, by selling influence for money, have similarly herded We, The People away from our true, self-representation and self-direction. Our only remedy is to learn to come together and discover our authentic voice through Citizens Activated.
Citizen Activated’s main purpose is therefore to foster face-to-face, real community building. The spirit of its community revival will be based on a radical embrace of all diversity, whether gender, race, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation—all the presently recognized points of social differentiation. Yet what is most important of all, Citizens Activated will challenge the American masses to respect one another in genuine, open-minded dialogue across political and even ideological lines. Because the New American Spring Social program has arisen to most directly remedy the greatest obstacle to social justice in the division and disempowerment of the people, the specific purpose of Citizens Activated will be to re-knit the American people together into one functional mass so that the power and influence of We, The People will retake control over the essential nature and direction of our government.
To be most effective, this community building must accordingly take place on two levels: online through social networking, and in the community through face-to-face structures.
In our formerly less informationally connected history, the general masses had to rely on political representatives to a greater degree if they hoped to sustain a large body politic. This is so because of the natural limitation of human attention to manageable social circles. Today, however, with the birth of the smartphone and social media, a united consciousness of the people is becoming ever more possible. In order to see a world which truly befits our human race, we ought to do everything we can to foster the development of this organic, one-world consciousness. Yet from the bottom up, that is, not the top down, as introduced in our preceding chapters. Hence must America lead in this unity program; for our nation has boasted, from its inception, a government of, by, and for the people as its central identity claim.
In order to accomplish an effective unification both politically and socially through the use of on-line tools, I propose the following elements, to begin:
Municipal Web Pages
Each Citizens Activated branch will maintain a web page. Each city, each county, and each state will have a page, and there must also be one national page. Because the web page serves as the informational heart and true representation of each group, each page will be moderated by a democratically elected moderator of its respective municipality.
Within a larger city, for example, Citizens Activated groups may form according to neighborhoods or districts for face-to-face manageability. The leaders of these groups, within a given city, will then elect one of their group members to moderate the city’s web page based upon his or her demonstrated impartiality and commitment to diversity and, of course, adequate technical skills. Likewise, in every county, a number of city groups will exist whose leaders will elect their respective county’s website moderator, and so on with the states, and so on for the national. This will guarantee that the person put in trust of the information is an authentic part of the Social Program.
Further details of this role will be determined during the organizing process.
Structure of Web Pages
In order to accomplish the greatest representative function, each Citizens Activated web page will adhere to one common structure involving five elements, to begin: a Citizens Profile, a Voter Education Forum, a Political Opinion Forum, a Populist Action Forum, and a Voter Mobilization Tool.
The Citizens Profile is Citizens Activated’s social-media profile of members. In the beginning, a presently established social media forum can be used, but as our social program develops, an entirely new social network will be constructed for We, The People.
Next and one of the most important elements of its service, every Citizens Activated web page must host a Voter Education Forum. This forum will consist of the most succinct and objective definitions of issues relating to its municipality. As one of our national founders, Thomas Jefferson writes: “I know of no safer depositary of the ultimate powers of the society than the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Because the representatives of our people today often have self-serving and corrupted motives through the compromising influence of money in politics, and because We, The People are naturally overwhelmed by the complexity of government in the face of our need to navigate an ever more bewildering world, a clear, effective, and functional instrument of political education is absolutely critical if we will truly and effectively be able to govern ourselves. The age of those who wish to continue playing our Pied Pipers, of those who despise us in their hearts and seek only to prey upon us, must now and definitively come to an end!
Besides education, the freedom of We, The People to express our opinions one to another, to reason and remonstrate with one another, is likewise central, as I have spoken about the socially critical role of dialogue. Because we cannot logistically be available to personally engage one another in any significant degree and on every convenient occasion within our relevant municipalities, this is where the benefits of the online forum shines brightest. Through Political Opinion Forums, we will be able enjoy the very important fruits of dialogue, which, when approached open-mindedly, always serve to edify—indeed unify. Education and opinion forums will gradually and ultimately enable us to organically unify under the mind of one body politic, so long as we approach our revived republic in the positive spirit of embracing of all diversity.
This work of inspiration will be the essential task of the previously discussed Citizens Activated leadership.
As important as the need to express ones opinions and know that one is being heard, one also needs the freedom to act on one’s social passions. By hosting a Populist Action Forum, accordingly, Citizen’s Activated will provide a space for the American citizen to organize his and her peers toward social interventions which she or he is personally passionate about. Some may be committed to clean water, others to freer trade. Some may organize around better schools, others around responsible government spending. But here, in one place, every cause will have the light of day for airing and mobilizing We, the People.
Citizens Activated members will be encouraged to look upon such diversity with approval, appreciating that just as in the state of nature diversity amounts to healthy ecosystems, so in our body politic. As in diversified nature the whole system converges toward health and beauty, so will our new, Enlightened Populism knit the people together in healthy rationality.
The last element I initially put forward for the Citizens Activated web pages is a Voter Mobilization Tool. This is a very critical feature, inasmuch as it will enable the voter to match his and her vote to a political candidate who most closely corresponds to his and her Issues Profile.
As a part of every member’s Citizens Profile will be a set of identifying issues which he or she, as an autonomous citizen, stands for. These issues will derive from those defined in the Voter Education Forum, and it will also enable political candidates to gauge what the people want. This will likewise allow the people to determine how their chosen candidate perform in office. Therefore this tool ultimately tightens the control of We, The People over our democratically chosen candidates.
Finally, the Voter Mobilization Tool does not to suggest a mechanical process for voting, so much as offer the busy citizen a quick guideline to his and her best representative in our ever more distracted lives.
We come now to the face-to-face community structures of our Citizens Activated associations. Let define the Organizing Leader and put forward four generic aspects of these groups to begin, including: Voter Registration Drives, Political Soap Box events, Political Action Meet-ups, and Meet Your Representatives. As you might see, these features parallel the on-line elements above.
The Organizing Leader of these face-to-face, localized groups will preferentially be recruited from graduate students of local universities due to its next-generational spirit, although regular or otherwise forward-looking adult, passionate community members may also apply. Young adult recruits should preferably be students or graduates of subjects closely related to politics and society such as political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and or other similar concentrations.
Because the whole purpose of Citizens Activated is to empower We, The People most directly and effectively, its first order of business will be to plug its members into the political power system. This involves ensuring that each and every individual who participates in his and her local Citizens Activated association be registered to vote. After voter registration is complete, the individual will then be invited to build his and her social networking profile or Citizens Profile. The exact structure of such profiles is to be determined during the early organizational process. Voter Registration Drives will simply be the face-to-face, organized efforts to get people registered. This will also be the main process for recruiting membership into Citizens Activated.
Political Soap Boxes will be community gatherings of the Citizens Activated member who wishes not only to express his or her opinions on the web page, but who longs for the fray of face-to-face dialogue and debate, yet in the spirit of citizenship solidarity and tolerance. Here, the skill and contribution of the Group Leader or facilitator toward the spirit of Embrace of Diversity will be most tested, especially in our present age of partisan dysfunction. Success in moderating these events will be one of the main criteria for advancement in the Association.
Political Action Meet-ups will naturally parallel the aforementioned on-line forum. Members desiring to gather together for mutual support and mobilization toward their cause, and other members of the local chapter who have developed a curiosity about the causes through perhaps the web page forums, can attend. The end result of this feature of Citizens Activated will be in serving as the catalyst for a vibrant and involved body politic, a civics and American citizenship revival!
Finally, Citizens Activated will host Meet Your Representative events. These events will offer those willing to serve their fellow citizens as political representatives, the opportunity to relate their tickets to the issues defined in the Voter Education Forum. The final effect of this feature of Citizens Activated will be to enable the people to engage with their representatives more effectively, finally rendering them our true servants.
Other elements of the face-to-face community can easily be conceived, including some such as Organizational Villages which gives non-profit organizations a forum to advocate to and engage the people, Creative Circles which offer the people opportunities to share their creative sides in community, and other Event Gatherings such as International Pot Lucks, etc. For succinctness in this paper, however, I will allow these very many exciting possibilities to develop in the process of real-world organizing. At the very least, I’m sure the reader can clearly see the wonderful promise for a Great American Peoples’ Revival!
III. Youth Invigorated Organization—
As you might suspect, getting Americans to fully embrace each other in our present social climate and show ourselves capable of our citizens’ revival will not be an easy task. We have too long become mired in the ideological separation, the partisan dysfunction, and to the divide and conquer influences of the power wielders in society who prey upon the masses of our besieged republic. Therefore in order for this movement to make the greatest strides, it must prepare our formable youth to be fully actualized citizens and human beings.
At this point, I should make it absolutely clear that I am not seeing to introduce political issues to our youth other than the specific, social-political character of New American Spring itself, which is essentially non-partisan. We must essentially teach our young people to become servant leaders.
At this point let me change my voice in the rest of this essay to one which addresses our youth personally, instead of continuing in a third person elocution about our young people. By offering you, young America, a space and time to develop a balanced character and to learn to become social leaders generally, we will be preparing your generation to assume your responsible role as citizens once you have come of age to vote.
The age old human plague is the temptation of the traditionally conceived “leader” to lord it over his and her fellows, to outshine and manipulate others for the sake of personal gain and glory. Yet the most effective leader is the servant of all. While the socially shell-shocked, older generation might hold that human nature is itself corrupt or otherwise hopeless and will not change, and you will find yourself facing a backlash of this sentiment if you become involved with this Program, our New American Spring is stubbornly optimistic. Therefore through your renewing generation, let us finally put to the test whether fundamental change can be learned.
In order to accomplish this great and critical task of forming your generation to become the noble citizens of the future, I propose a youth character and leadership development organization with the following, Three Pronged Philosophy, Leadership Structure, Enrichment Features, and Light Organizational Footprint:
Three Pronged Philosophy
It seems to me that we can readily identify three essential aspects of being human which, when conceived together, gives us a sense of wholeness. This triune interpretation of human character, I should confess, comes through inspiration from the Christian concept of the Trinity—not that I am setting forth any specifically Christian organization. Only that I derive inspiration from the essential conceptions of Father, Son and Sprit from my own religious background, and in the idea that human beings are made in this image.
According to the Christian Trinitarian conception, the Father is the creative source of all, the Son is the manifestation of all things, which manifestation can be conceived as the social body of Creation, and the Spirit is the unity of all things in joyful Love.
Accordingly, as images of the Creator, human beings are first and foremost creative. We long to express ourselves, to offer newness to life. Human beings are secondly social. We need one another both psychology and practically. And healthy human beings are thirdly joyful. Life cannot be meaningful to us unless we view it as essentially positive.
Therefore I propose that our Youth Invigorated organization espouse a correspondingly three-pronged formational aspect for all of its members: Young Artists, Young Citizens, and Young Lifers. As Young Artists, all Youth Invigorated members and leaders will cultivate an artistic expression, liberally defined, in fulfillment of their human creative faculty. As Young Citizens, all Youth Invigorated members and leaders will perform voluntary services to their larger community, in fulfillment of their human social identity. And as Young Lifers, all Youth Invigorated members and leaders will be called to unite in expressions of celebration, in fulfillment of their human need for Joy of Life.
The designative title of Members will be the basic level of participation in this organization. These youth will comply with the three-pronged requirement of the organization, and will begin and actively cultivate, over the course of their membership, a Life Resume which will chronicle all the steps taken and all the accomplishments made during the adolescent to early young adult membership of all Members and Leaders. Members will be drawn from middle and high schools, and they will be organized under a School Leader.
School Leaders will oversee that Members meet the three-pronged development requirements and they will serve under Area Leaders, who will be college students drawn from colleges most central to their local cluster of schools. The freshman year of college will be a hiatus for all Youth Leaders involved in this organization in order that they may acclimate themselves to their new university environment. Therefore Area leaders will be recruited from the sophomore through the senior years of college.
Area Leaders will oversee and guide the service of School Leaders, and they will serve under Area Directors, who will be full-time, professional, young adult college graduates.
Area Directors will serve under various Regional Directors (to be constituted in response to organizational size) who together will be answerable to the Executive Director who oversees the leadership structure of the entire organization. He or she will be responsible for the overall mission of the organization and will be a nonprofit professional answerable to the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors, lastly, will set the vision and mission of the organization as a whole, and will be responsible for continual development.
Unlike the loose associational nature of Citizens Activated, the centralization or hierarchical structure of Youth Invigorated, it should be noted, is not an issue of concern for national corruptibility. There isn’t much temptation to corrupt the youth for political reasons when their generational age within this organizational body does not quality for voting.
I would not want to give your generation the message that you should completely split from your forbearers, however. Therefore in order to benefit from the human wealth available in the adult population, I propose, to begin, two mentoring features:
Professional Mentors will volunteer with up to three Youth Invigorated Members who express a desire to enter into their career path. This will enable young people to enjoy the critically important benefit of seeing, in concrete, the reality of their ambition. This benefit is absolutely invaluable for the ultimate success of our youth.
Senior Mentors will likewise volunteer with up to three Youth Invigorated Members. All Youth Invigorated Members will be encouraged to respect and appreciate the wisdom available to them, socially, in their seniors. These seasoned human beings often have invaluable wisdom and experience which can be personally imparted to the wise because respectful young person.
Light Organizational Footprint
An essential character of the Youth Invigorated organization will be its light organizational footprint. This means that Youth Invigorated will, in every possible occasion, seek to work with other youth organizations and or school programs in fulfilling its formations mission.
In other words, it may use Big Brothers, Big Sisters to oversee the screening of Professional and Senior Mentors. It may use the YMCA and other community facilities for its artistic cultivation activities. It may partner with City, State, and local officials to arrange youth pride parades for its Joy of Life activities, etc. Even the school Members of the organization will meet in their respective schools, after classes, as a School Club.
The ultimate idea is that, as an organization, Youth Invigorated need not grow facilities heavy or seek to reproduce resources. So many resources are already available to youth in our communities that Youth Invigorated should consider itself free to do only the most important task at hand, that of forming the character of our young people, most efficiently and effectively.
Tell Your Teachers:
There is one final topic I would like to address with you, actually a request. If you are a student, I ask that you bring this book to your teachers and challenge them to read it. Then ask that they do whatever they can to help facilitate Youth Invigorated coming to your school. This is the plan of metastasis, that through the institutional array of schools in the United States, this youth movement might catch fire.
If you happen to be a graduate student in Government Administration or Political Science or are otherwise inspired by our New American Spring vision, I likewise invite you to tell your professors and college and university administrators about it and encourage them to invite me, the Founder of New American Spring, to talk at your institution. In this way, Citizens Activated can likewise ignite.
IV. First Leaders Convention
Let me end by proclaiming that I have a dream! I have a dream that from East to West to North to South, the first fruits of America’s brightest youth will gather in one, special place. I dream of holding a kick-off convention for the beginning of the New American Spring Social Program. Its first leaders will have read this book and have been inspired to take up the task of renewing our country and world.
I hope that this book will be successful and that advanced-looking philanthropists will be moved to fund the New American Spring Foundation which will fund and hire the first Knights of this grand revival. Young, idealistic, dauntless, bright minded and hearted youth, the first renewing warriors of our next generation!
May you be one of these…
PS: I often see many of my ideas and concepts introduced in my blogs repeated by some right-wing sources like Hannity, Tucker Carlston and others. While I remained happy to see my ideas spread popularly in experimental ways, I do however take exception to my Social Program. Only the founder is really capable of leading such a program, so I ask those who come here to gleam ideas, please don’t try to reproduce parts of this program anywhere else. Please appeal to me if you wish to adopt anything..