by Jerry Alatalo
“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind… But the particular evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more from those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose what is always as great a benefit – the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873)
all the new government sponsored website, operated at minimal cost in any nation on Earth, an additional branch of government directly representing the people. Here in the United States, especially after the recent events of Israeli Prime Minister breaking professional political, diplomatic protocol by speaking to the Congress and 47 Republican senators similarly breaking long-honored protocol with their letter to Iranian leaders, public opinion of politicians in Washington, D.C. has sunk even lower than thought possible.
So, with establishment of a public website dedicated to “We the People”, the descent into deeper unhappiness and dissatisfaction felt by citizens over their elected representatives could become reversed. Citizens of the United States, or citizens of any nation on Earth who starts such a website, would be given an opportunity to speak their minds on ideas for solving the nation’s problems, and literally start the engines/movement toward “a more perfect union”.
There are many possible configurations for such a website. With 24 hours in each day, if citizens produced 30-minute videos for the website, that would result in 48 new-idea voices becoming available for internet visitors to experience daily. That’s 336 voices per week, 1,440 per month, and 17,520 voices available in archives on the website every year. After ten years, the website will contain 175,200 posts from men and women interested in contributing good ideas and proposals for making America (or, insert your country here _ _ _ _) a better nation.
There are a number of positive benefits one can expect for such an internet initiative, and zero negatives when one imagines the potentials and possibilities. Just a few of the positives include allowing voters/citizens to become both watchdog and whistleblower, articulation of ideas which, if good enough, elected representatives will find impossible to ignore, and fundamentally keeping political leaders honest.
Other positives include diminishing over time of mis/disinformation on the entire wide range of important issues affecting people’s lives, greater participation of citizens in the democratic process, a higher level of direct influence by the people on decisions affecting them, and a more well-informed populace. Young people, especially, would receive tremendous lessons in civics and leadership, and an extremely positive education as over time they soak in the rapidly increasing number of varied proposals presented on the website.
Because the 30-minute video contributions will become identified/searchable in the simplest video #1, video #2, video #476, etc manner, one can see a certain point after the website is up and running where people will become heard around their company water coolers saying such things as: “Man, you’ve got to see #820, she nailed the healthcare issue!”, “What did you think of #4,229? He was weak on a few points…”, “Professor Jones was brilliant on #138; it should become law soon”, or “She’s been all over the place giving interviews after her presentation on #441”.
So, thus far one gets a fundamental sense and vision of a government-run, minimal-cost, solutions-focused website which has the potential to become a genuine, positive-consequence “fourth branch of government”. Implausible, weak contributions would become deemed ineffective and disregarded after the bad ideas in them get analyzed, critiqued and defeated in nationwide articles, reports, blog posts, etc with headlines such as: “Taxes: Smith Falls Flat in #552” or “Education: No Go For Thomas at #14,791”, and so on.
Good, reasoned, and clearly improvement-producing proposals will rise like cream to the top, and receive similar media attention: “Economics: Ms. Lee Hits ‘Grand Slam’ – #7,085”, “Trade: #19,440 – Mr. Johnson Nailed It!”, and so on. Defective, impractical ideas will end up in the “circular file”, potentially outstanding, weak-in-certain-aspects ideas will generate debate and fixes, and the most outstanding ideas will become acted upon.
The proposed public-run, solutions-focused website could be very simple and require only a few easily understood rules for those men and women who wish to contribute. To deter pranksters and those who aren’t serious about meeting the vision of the website, a law would need to become passed with sufficient punishment for preventing abuse of the site. Serious contributors would have their presentations posted on a first-come, first-served basis, and, as mentioned, each post would have a searchable number – #12, #744, #38,395 and so on.
To avoid favoritism, censorship, and/or bias – to guarantee contributor requests for participation become honored – potential contributors’ email requests are time/date recorded on their personal computers, and a master list of requests – including times and dates, the requesters’ names, etc. – should become published and updated on the website. When a man or woman who has sent their request via email finds that their request hasn’t become added to the master list, he or she should have recourse to a reasonable appeal process.
Content/posts at the site should be designed as minimal to the extreme: numbered videos/citizen proposals only – no comments, no thumbs up/down, no surveys – only ideas which will increasingly become debated, then rejected, considered with some adjustments, or embraced in the “court of public opinion”.
A requirement that all men and women contributors must have earned a Ph.D./doctorate would further make sure the highest quality content gets published on the website. If a bright young man or woman who hasn’t yet earned a Ph.D. has an outstanding idea, he or she will have no choice but to find and convince a Ph.D. to deliver their proposal in their place. With the doctorate rule, website content of highest quality is reasonably guaranteed, viewers will experience and receive the highest quality civic education, and, once again, especially young people will become aware of the wisdom in working hard in school and the rewards of getting a good education.
If manifested into reality, a WeThePeople.gov website offers the potential for truly positive transformation of societies at local, state, national and international levels. Whether in America, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, France, Greece, South Africa, Malaysia, China or Russia, we the people can build a more perfect union. A better world for our children, grandchildren and future generations.
The world’s best ideas will become available around the Earth for all to share, on the world-wide-web, right out there in the open for all to see…
In the light of day.
Had a dream last night, the angels had come riding
In the light of day, there was no more hiding
All so fine, I still see them shine
I saw angels play right in the light of day
As I watched them fly across a fiery sky
And I heard their cry as they passed me by
I could feel the light inside me, I could feel it everywhere
Life was clear and fair
Woke up in the dark and tried to keep believing
In the light I saw, in time of constant grieving
Vision fair, please don’t disappear
And please hear my prayer there in my light of day
When I look within, I see them shine again
As the darkness ends and the light begins
I can feel the light inside me, I can feel it everywhere
They are all still there
On the street tonight the innocent are dying
And the worlds not right, so many millions crying
Evil lives and hate never gives, Hell is never far
And is this all we are?
Oh, Lord, hear us cry, up in my fiery sky
That our souls may fly to you when we die
Help us feel the light inside us, help us feel it everywhere
Oh, Lord, be there
Be there, be there
Lord, be there, be there
Be there, oh, be there
Oh, Lord, be there
(Thank you to landshark2903 at YouTube)