This effort seeks to answer a single question:

Can we somehow remind the American voters that the political system in this nation belongs to them?

Despite the gridlock, the partisan fighting, and the scorched-earth campaigns that have left voters angry and divided, can we somehow remind all the people of this country that the leaders in Washington work for us? If we no longer see a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, can we take small steps together to regain what is rightfully ours?

I believe that we can, but there’s a huge hurdle that each of us must navigate on our own: we have to recognize the forces that would prefer to keep us divided.

If I have one hope for this project, that’s the one I’ll point to: that we’ll find our way back to each other so we can take a hard look at who our current system truly serves.

This project intends to initiate conversations among people who are already connected to each other; people who value each other enough to hang on when differences arise.

We’ve spent many years moving away from each other politically, and we can look around and see the evidence of how well that’s actually working. Perhaps, then, in the wake of a divisive, traumatic election cycle, we should try something different this time.

Let’s choose people over parties, and let’s start with each other.

Instead of commenting here, have a discussion with the people in your circle who know you and value your perspectives. Choose civil discourse with people you have relationships with, and drill down until you find a small piece of common ground that you can occupy together. Resist the tendency to part ways with someone over idealogical differences, even when they are a matter of life and death.

It’s hard, I know. But the smallest possibility of change exists when we continue to debate ideas. When there’s no dialogue at all, there’s no way we’ll convince anyone to consider other possibilities.

Educate yourself about the true state of our political system, and make peace with the fact that we’ll never, ever get everything we want from our government. We must be willing to take small steps toward each other and meet in the messy middle.

I hope this project represents the first of many small steps you’ll take.

I’ve got no “political chops” to speak of. Just an intense interest in our political system, 30-something years worth of life lived among our military, and a heightened sense of justice that bristles at the current state of the American political system.

Feel free to email me if you have thoughts, ideas, or if you see something that I’ve gotten wrong. (It will happen. I promise.)

~Shannon Rasmussen