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.