The George Washington Farewell Project
George Washington’s Farewell Address: A timely message for the people of the United States
Constitution Day: A celebration of the constitution
The State of the Union: A time to reflect on the Health of the Nation
Americanization Day: An ongoing exploration of the shared vision of being an American
The Citizen Toolbox
September 17, 2021
American society in which all Americans have access to achieving their full potential for happiness in a safe manner and the political and legal system in guided by the provisions of the US constitution.
To provide a framework for civic engagement based on an understanding of the US Constitution in order to provide a political voice for Americans and continue to progress toward the vision of the founders of the United States and the citizens who established our nation.
Civil and respectful discussions motivated by a desire to achieve a more perfect union.
The US Constitution is a revolutionary document that puts the citizen as sovereign and at the center of their body politic. After meeting for the summer of 1787 to create the architecture (DNA) for the United States, on September 17, 1787 the 37 white men, representing the states made the document public, to a country gripped by dysfunction, fear and uncertainty about the way forward for the young confederation. There was great disagreement among the framers, and later the American public, that was called upon to ratify the constitution. The US Constitution was debated in the states and eventually ratified, serving to provide a container for political life for the last 232 years. When leaving Independence Hall after signing onto the constitution, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a concerned citizen, “What have you brought us Mr. Franklin”? The elder statesman replied, “a Republic if you can keep it.” The constitution however didn’t come with a user’s manual for the citizenry.
Today the fabric of the US body politic seems to be unwinding and the country is polarized, inflicted with multiple pathologies. More and more citizens believe that the political system is rigged. To heal this divisiveness, it is important to revisit the vision that led to the creation of the United States, to facilitate meaningful public deliberations and to develop a tool box that can help our citizens engage in the public sphere. The process seeks to build a guide, a user's manual of sorts, to bring the ideals of the constitution to engage civic life in the 21st century.
The US constitution, the DNA for the federal government and the relationship of citizens to their government, has been remarkable in providing a fairly stable framework to weather the past 225 years and achieve remarkable success in creating a government that has seen peaceful national elections and succession of political power. During this time the United States has become a global superpower and the standard of living of our citizens has been unprecedented. However, the current political environment highlights the shortcomings of the political system that has emerged in the twenty first century. The political process, defined by the constitution, has been corrupted to the point that it is an existential threat to the US. Culture wars, congressional paralysis if not obstructionism, polarized electorate, global challenges, surveillance state, concern regard growing national debt, growing inequality, money’s impact on political election have all contributed to growing distrust of the federal government.
More and more Americans have been questioning if our political system (Tax) is rigged. The raising inequality and polarization have been a source of great concern to the future of our nation. Americans are viewing their government as removed and not addressing their needs. The role of citizen, claimed by Judge Brandis to be “the most important public office in the country” has been relegated to consumers of increasing election cycle messaging aimed to potentiate “mutual animosities”. It can be different. The James Madison Projects is inspired by the belief that We the People Can do better. By focusing on the vision that animated our founders and has energized Americans to achieve greatness.
I will share the more extensive description and strategic plan of the Citizens-Commission in a separate document. You may also find the larger effort for citizen engagement of interest, a topic I call Citizenism, Here and here.