Tired of the same old politics?
So are we.
And so are millions of other Americans, who, polls show, are frustrated by campaigns and politics dominated by mudslinging, sound bites, money, and polarizing partisanship.
But the answer isn't to walk away. The answer is more participation.
We need to put people back into politics. And we need to start now.
The good news is that there's a new national coalition focused on doing just that. It's called the November 5th Coalition, named to send the message that politics and civic engagement isn't just about election. It's about what happens after and between elections. It's about creating what we're calling a new civic politics—one that truly believes in government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Members of the November 5th Coalition—an all-partisan, grassroots effort—include groups as diverse at the National Civic League, American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project, Mobilize.org, and the Association of Young Americans.
Our Declaration is endorsed by a network of citizens, including former governors William Winter (D-Miss.) and Al Quie (R-Minn.), former civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton, former USA Freedom Corps director John Bridgeland, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and many others.
Already, this group is challenging candidates to rise above needless polarization and talk about how they'll work with all of us, as fellow citizens, to address difficult problems from health care to education reform, from climate change to keeping communities safe.
But we're doing a lot more. And we need your help—and the help of all those who believe politics shouldn't be a spectator sport.
What can you do? Here's a few suggestions: • Join others around the country in signing and publicizing the November Fifth Coalition Declaration.
• Push out our message of "citizen politics" by writing a letter to the editor, posting a comment on a blog, or calling into a radio show.
• Get other people thinking and talking about how to change politics through house meetings, community discussions, or conversations in your congregation, neighborhood, or workplace- see guide on housemeetings.
• Attend political debates and ask questions that challenge candidates to think differently about their role and working with citizens (see sample questions).
• Contribute to the November 5th Coalition.
• Tell us what you’re doing in your community by contacting us: email@example.com
We believe that we have the momentum, the opportunity, and the power to help make "we the people" the architects and agents of a new democracy. And we hope you'll join us.
Harry Boyte, Elaine Eschenbacher, and Nan Skelton, Center for Democracy and Citizenship,
University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Maya Enista, Mobilize.org
Will Friedman & Alison Kadlec, Center for Advances in Civic Engagement, Public Agenda
Archon Fung, Harvard University
Chris Gates, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement
Cynthia Gibson, Cynthesis Consulting/Tisch College of Public Service & Citizenship, Tufts University
Joe Goldman, America Speaks
Elizabeth Hollander, Tisch College of Public Service & Citizenship, Tufts University
Sandy Heirbacher, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
Matt Leighninger, Deliberative Democracy Consortium
Peter Levine, CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
Martha McCoy, Study Circles Resource Center
George Mehaffy, American Democracy Project, AASCU
Carmen Sirianni, Brandeis University
Mica Stark, Saint Anselm College
Max Stephenson, Virginia Tech Center for Policy & Governance