Molineaux and Nevins are co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, a coalition of 100 democracy strengthening organizations. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)
As we look to history, it has always been the mystics and scientists, innovators and outliers who saw the future most clearly and acted to push — or call — society forward, to awaken from our slumber of the way things are and envision a better future. The stories of their personal transformation inspire us to be better individually and collectively. With this inspiration, we can and must transform our nation into a more perfect union.
As co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, we are inspired and challenged by the problems facing our country. Our 100 member organizations work daily to protect the ideals of our American Dream so we can create healthy self-governance that has never fully existed before. Our members work to harness the tension of our differences as we enact our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, balancing individual and community needs.
Molineaux is the co-founder and executive director of Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 civic reform groups. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)
Imagine the United States as a car and us – the inhabitants of the country – as a 330-million-member family trying to plan a road trip. We each have a destination in mind (like lower taxes, improved health care, criminal justice reform, addressing climate change) and we've planned the route (path to victory), the activities (organizing), and the site-seeing (small accomplishments along the way). As we set off, we argue and bicker and fight to get the car moving down our chosen path. Then BANG, the car breaks down, emitting a puff of smoke as a wheel falls off.
Our country is a broken-down car on the side of the road. Some people may stop and offer help. But unless a qualified technician comes by with the proper tools, we're stuck. And so is our country. Nobody is going anywhere.
Who are the technicians of our democratic republic? The people who know the system inside and out – where the breakdowns are likely to occur and what parts to replace? I would posit that it is those of us in the democratic reform movement. While many of our 330 million family members are on the side of the road bemoaning the lack of progress on their issue of choice, we need to pay attention to the vehicle itself. That is where the reform movement comes in. We are equipped to look at the vehicle as a whole, and that is what will get us where we want to go the fastest.