The mission of the Transpartisan Alliance is:
- To motivate and inspire Americans to work together across divides
- To unite America by practicing and teaching the principles of transpartisanship and
- To provide a Transpartisan Forum (be a Neutral Convener) where unlikely connections, cooperation and partnerships happen.
The Primary Goal of the Transpartisan Alliance is:
- To catalyze a shift away from the dysfunctional, divide-and-conquer political game and toward a more respectful, accountable, cooperative and productive political game using proven methods of dialogue, deliberation and conflict resolution. Our primary focus is fostering authentic citizen empowerment where ALL points of view are valued and where citizens from all sides take responsibility for cooperating to create win-win policy options that 80% of people can say “Yes!” to.
In the face of uncertainty, cooperation is our call to action.
The American democratic republic is faced with a choice. We as individuals, and collectively as a country, are yearning to return to the values our nation was built on: a culture of courage, faith, love, trust, respect, inclusiveness, security, freedom, communication and cooperation.
The competition for 51 percent to win power and control, has divided the political field in two. Our winner-take-all, two-party political system and the significant influence of narrow interests, is largely responsible for the state of our union today. That is why it is important to shift our political culture away from compromise solutions that favor insiders, and towards common ground solutions that tap the wisdom and serve the well-being of the whole.
A growing number of citizens are less inclined to identify with, or be defined by, red and blue boxes. The current breakdowns that are featured every day in headline news reveal the complexity of our economic and social systems. People are talking about these challenges and more of us are recognizing the need to find common ground and better ways to politically collaborate. We are developing a greater appreciation for our differences, not as something that divides us but rather as different windows on the whole we are all trying to understand. The nation is at a tipping point, it is yearning for a new way of connecting to get things done.
Now is the time to unite America one conversation at a time.
The Transpartisan Alliance will connect and empower citizens to work in partnership, to transform our politics and to awaken the genuine spirit of government of the people, by the people, for the people. We will do this by:
• facilitating a shift in the political culture – beginning at the smallest scale – from competition to cooperation in which every point of view is valued;
• amplifying the voice of the people for the general interest by providing them with the tools and means to bridge divides and collaborate;
• engaging the passion, brilliance and creativity of average citizens and leaders to deliver generative, innovative solutions as alternative ways to solve our most pressing challenges;
• reconnecting Americans to the sense of ownership inherent in responsible citizenship.
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged social status afforded to a few. The American evolution of the term offers this status to all human beings willing to be accountable for, and committed to, the well being of the whole. A citizen is one who takes ownership in, and responsibility for, the future of their community and nation. The Transpartisan Alliance is a facilitator of healthy, empowered citizenship.
A Plan of Action: The Role for Empowered Citizenship
In the spring of 2005, Ashland Oregon’s city charter was up for review. A charter is a constitution and a new version was being proposed which would have made Ashland’s government less transparent and accountable. In response, a handful of citizens decided it was important to have a high quality, communitywide dialogue about the question, How do we choose to govern ourselves in Ashland? So, they went out and knocked on a couple hundred upper, middle and lower class doors, inviting a microcosm of the community to an “Ashland Constitution Dialogue.” A serious six month discourse of weekly facilitated library and café conversations sprang from that initial grassroots effort. What the citizens of Ashland discovered was that all sides of the community shared a core set of values and principles for governance including, openness and transparency, protecting the commons, high citizen involvement, checks & balances and accountability.
On July 4, 2005, the participants self-published a printed newspaper with their findings entitled “By the People.” It was distributed from the people who took part in the dialogue, to the people of the community and rapidly seeped into the public conscience as the accepted way to govern the city. While it took two years for the official charter changes to make it onto the ballot, when they did, 77% of the citizens voted them down in favor of the values and principles that emerged from the dialogue.
What happened in this city could have happened anywhere in America. The important thing to take away from this story is that this dialogue was transpartisan. It included homeless people as well as people who live in the wealthiest part of town. It was not a lobbying effort from the people to the officials or special interests; it was an inclusive, expanding community conversation about what the people were for, not what they were against. It was a trust building public conversation based in listening, respect and honoring of difference that catalyzed subsequent dialogue efforts that now serve as a resource for creative options for local decision makers.
Posted by Walt Roberts on 01/22/2010
Katrina vanden Heuvel seems to have a handle on the need for pro-democracy reforms and the conditions being right for a transpartisan uprising; “There is fertile ground on which to rally people in a transpartisan political reform movement.” I’m keeping my eye on Katrina. Enjoy. Walt
posted by Katrina vanden Heuvel on 01/19/2010 @ 10:11pm
….Leadership on pro-democracy reforms are also desperately needed to end the corruption of our politics and to stanch the corporate money flooding and deforming of our democracy. Connect the dots for people: explain how needed reforms are gutted when both parties succumb to the pervasive corruption of our money politics. If the GOP’s obstructionism has a silver lining, it is in exposing how an anti-democratic, super-majority filibuster has essentially made our system dysfunctional. There is fertile ground on which to rally people in a transpartisan political reform movement…….
“Thoughts on politics, current affairs, riffs and reflections on what’s in the news and what’s not–but should be.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel has been The Nation’s editor since 1995 and publisher since 2005.
She is the co-editor of Taking Back America–And Taking Down The Radical Right (NationBooks, 2004) and, most recently, editor of The Dictionary of Republicanisms, (NationBooks, 2005)
She is also co-editor (with Stephen F. Cohen) of Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers (Norton, 1989) and editor of The Nation: 1865-1990, and the collection A Just Response: The Nation on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001.
She is a frequent commentator on American and international politics on MSNBC, CNN and PBS. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
1.20.2010 — Kristi Rabago introducing Vince at his announcement press conference at the State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona.
In press conferences in Phoenix and Tucson surrounded by family and friends, former Assistant Attorney General Vince Rabago announced that he is a candidate for the office of Arizona Attorney General. With a 16-year career as a prosecutor, Rabago cited his experience in taking on payday lenders, mortgage fraudsters, deceptive student loan practitioners and enforcing Arizona’s open meetings law.
“In this time of severe economic crisis, the Attorney General’s Office needs a leader who is a proven fighter and who can hit the ground running,” Rabago said in a prepared statement.
Rabago is an Arizona native, born and raised in Cochise County. He attended the University of Arizona and received his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1993.
Rabago began his career as a prosecutor in San Diego for the California Attorney General. In 2002, he became an Assistant Attorney General in Arizona. On January 15, 2010, Rabago stepped down from that position to run for Attorney General.
1.20.2010 — Vince Rabago making a point during his announcement press conference at the State Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona.
As a prosecutor, Rabago worked on criminal, civil and constitutional matters at all levels, including the Arizona and California Supreme Courts, District Court, the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rabago, 42, is married to Kristie Rabago and has two children, Maya, 6, and Vincent Patrick, 5.
Rabago will be a participating candidate in Arizona’s Clean Elections system. “I believe in taking the corrupting influence of money out of politics,” Rabago said. “I have decided to stand with Arizona voters who overwhelmingly voted to have Clean Elections.”
I support Vince’s run for AZ Attorney General from the 14th CD!
By Mark Tapscott |
Neither Democrats versus Republicans nor liberals versus conservatives will define 21st-century politics. Citizen legislators versus career politicians will. The citizen legislators will win by embracing the Internet and the wisdom of crowds.
Politicians in both major parties who repeatedly seek re-election to keep “bringing home the bacon” while feathering their own nests are careerists. Candidates in both parties who bring the real world to Washingtonto clean it up — and who can’t wait to return home — are citizen legislators.
Careerists thrive on the power, perks and prestige that come with being insiders. Until now, their power stemmed from a monopoly on information, which they selectively shared with the rest of us. Theirs is the world of old media, big impersonal institutions and spinning “experts.”
By contrast, citizen legislators thrive on the power of principle and the liberating independence that comes with being outsiders. Their power stems from their cultivation of information to the widest possible audience and the accountability that comes with such transparency. Theirs is the world of Internet-based new media and the collaborative networking that thrives there.
As long as the careerists remain in power, they will continue aggrandizing themselves, while making government bigger, more costly and less able to deal with emergencies like Hurricane Katrina and the coming entitlement crisis.
It doesn’t make much difference anymore which party has the congressional majority. The Senate’s Water Resources Development bill, for instance, has 446 earmarks, the House version 692. (Earmarks are measures giving members of Congress exclusive control over the spending of federal tax dollars on a project they favor.)
Those figures exceed the then-unprecedented total for the 2006 GOP version of the same bill, despite Democrats’ promises last year to clean up the Republicans’ culture of corruption epitomized by the explosion of earmarks between 1996 and 2006.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s defense of Rep. John Murtha’s angry spittle-laced tirade of threats last week to forever cut off a GOP representative from getting earmarks for his district confirms that the new boss is pretty much the same old boss, just a different party label.
What’s needed is a massive and continuing infusion of new blood — citizen legislators — in Congress. The careerists will never agree to that, of course, so it will have to be imposed from the outside. That’s where the Internet, the wisdom of crowds, term limits and a potential new post-partisan political movement converge.
The evidence of this percolating movement is seen in the successful campaign last year to win passage of the Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act spearheaded by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Coburn-Obama directs the Office of Management and Budget to create a searchable, Google-like Internet database of most federal spending by 2009. Bloggers and Internet-savvy advocacy groups from across the old political spectrum made the critical difference in getting the bill passed. Backers believe the new database will rally public support for more effective controls on federal spending.
Many elements of the same transpartisan coalition of bloggers and advocacy groups came together again this year in the OpenHouse Project led by the Sunlight Foundation to create a lengthy list of Internet-based recommendations for opening up the House of Representatives to greater citizen access.
But these two measures only hint of what could be if the transpartisan coalition coalesces into a genuine movement. Using the Internet to transform government by making it far more transparent and enabling vastly greater citizen participation can unite people across the ideological spectrum.
What if their energies are focused on breaking the career politicians’ stranglehold? Coburn-Obama and the OpenHouse Project encourage change at the margins. Term limiting Congress would fundamentally shift power back to the people.
It can be done because the Constitution allows states to propose amendments. Three-fourths of the public supported term limits before the Republican congressional leadership killed it in 1995. There is no reason not to think the same or even more support would come forth today.
Using the Internet and trusting the wisdom of crowds is the way to force that infusion of new blood and radically change American politics and government.
Mark Tapscott is editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner and proprietor of Tapscott’s Copy Desk blog.