The Structural Framework
More To The Story: A Structural Framework For The Risks We Face
Americans need a structural strategy and clear intention to hold civil society together through these many crises. In the midst of chaos with a catastrophic pandemic and multiple crises in the US, systems and government are failing Americans at every level.
These crises lay bare issues at the core of who we are as a country: the functionality of our institutions, how our social contracts work, who government serves, how government operates, and how well government is working at every level to help (or not help) all of its citizens stay alive, to flourish, and to thrive. These crises underscore inequities in the systems, injustice, systemic disparities and racism, and massive wealth and power imbalances. Systems that are supposed to serve every American are not working well for most Americans. They have been eroded, are dysfunctional, have been corrupted, are not being used, have been underfunded, have been shut down, have been deregulated, have been privatized, or were created with bias and favoritism in the first place.
In terms of coronavirus, there are indications from the 1918-1919 pandemic that communities better able to flatten the curve and have less massive system impacts locally were better able to recover their economies and rebuild their communities on the other side. Civic engagement can help us amplify and expand public health actions to help.
Research indicates that societies fighting emerging tyrants recover from the tyrant’s damage better once that authoritarian has been removed if the institutions and civil society are held intact through the duration when the authoritarian is in power.
A solid opposition agenda that includes institutional transformation planned to better serve all parties in the social contract can help defeat the tyrant, as a perception of a failed social contract is often how an emerging tyrant gets a foothold. The tyrant offers only a spiral of fear, anger, and abyss. Widespread real-world civic engagement work such as that outlined below and the agendas and action it drives can serve to counter what is on offer from the tyrant, which is only more anger, more fear, and less solutions that serve the greater society.
An engaged and overwhelming majority is also key to countering a trend toward nationalistic oligarchy that many in the Republican party appear to be encouraging and espousing. This trend also relies on disengagement and disempowerment, as well as actively fomenting divisiveness through the nationalism aspect. The Shift the Country framework for massive, large-scale civic engagement combined with other strategies to help solidify the majority can help counter the nationalistic oligarchical push as well.
The US faces the challenge of active election interference and other scaled disinformation efforts from hostile foreign adversaries such as Russia. These ongoing threats are well documented in public Congressional hearings from US national security personnel. Russian intentions to sow discord and divisiveness in order to weaken the US and its civil society are well established; operations are reportedly ongoing. Russia’s goals to confuse US citizenry are also clear: they don’t want Americans to be able to discern truth.
Increasing and well-funded domestic misinformation and propaganda efforts in both the public and private sectors further complicate the US risk landscape; put Americans’ health and safety at risk; and foment further civic divisiveness and corresponding instability as well as COVID-19 disease spread. An increase in corruption and a decrease in ethical behavior in the current administration of the US government combined with a slow and deliberate erosion of truth and government institutions further weakens US standing, capabilities, capacity, and security.
The money, power, and influence at play in the US in 2020 is daunting and overwhelming.
The power of an actively engaged citizenry can be more daunting and more overwhelming.
The power of civic outrage about systemic racism in the summer of 2020 is already having wide-reaching impacts. The Shift the Country 4-part strategy can help make of the transformation happen that is urgently needed.
Americans can create an outbreak of civic engagement nationwide that is powerful enough to help stabilize this country while we navigate this chaos, to help get more voters voting, to help people help each other through, and to help us transform it to serve us better as we get through this.
We are stronger together. This framework helps us be stronger, more resilient, more empowered, and more likely to survive.
You can help support this shift, talk to people about what we're doing, share it, & sign up to join in on this shift. Contributions help us get tools, stories, actions, engagement, messages, and ruckus out and amplified. To get things to go viral. To create a phenomenon. To help more people everyone engage with everything. To help more people raise an absolute ruckus. To make shift happen.
This page is an excerpt from the printable Shift the Country framework.
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15 Tools to Help People Engage With Everything
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