More To The Story: Urgency & Risk
The US is in a set of simultaneous crises, with no national strategy or leadership actively addressing any of those crises effectively. The US is in a turning point; a pivotal moment.
It’s an election year in the most important US election in modern times. The election itself is vulnerable in an array of ways. Results of the election will massively affect the future of this country, national security, and the stability of the republic itself. The US president has not been willing to agree to a nonviolent transition of power, and has been spreading misinformation to lead followers not to accept election results. The weeks between the election and inauguration could include significant instability, further erosion of government institutions and capabilities, and cascading effects in society as a result. Mass protests and civic unrest are highly likely as well during this period.
In terms of the pandemic, the US has no national strategy (or international strategy that we are participating in) including science and public health measures to get ahead of COVID-19. The federal government under Republican leadership has largely abdicated responsibility for and actively obstructed the response to coronavirus. The US president has decided not to use the full might and power of the entire US government not to help Americans, including capabilities, authorities, laws, capacities, resources, staff, science, analytics, public health measures, restrictions, guidelines, recommendations, processes, and public influence. These mechanisms are available through a complex set of systems built over a century since the last pandemic to be ready for exactly this kind of crisis. One compendium of some of these mechanisms is in the executive branch operational level pandemic plan known as the Biological Incident Annex: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/fema_incident-annex_biological.pdf (this is not the same as the National Security Council pandemic plan that the Trump Administration reportedly discarded). This is the interagency operational pandemic plan that is actively not being used to its fullest extent. The US has state, local, and tribal governments making uncoordinated decisions that are literally all over the map; many of which are also counterproductive or obstructive. There is a poor understanding of science in the general population. There is confused and contradictory public health messaging making that worse. There is misinformation and disinformation about the virus that threaten our health, our social fabric, our sense of community, our election, and our national security. There is an increasingly aggressive segment of the population empowered by the president who refuse to follow public health measures designed to keep people alive, and who are willing to endanger themselves and others; a segment advocating for increased intolerance and inequality. The US has corresponding economic damage that will be much worse than it would have been if we were handling the pandemic better. The country will experience increasing cascading effects across sectors of our society and economy as interruptions occur in highly complex, interdependent systems.
The country has widespread civic outrage over systemic racism and inequality, and increasing advocacy for more equitable and just governments at every level that better serve everyone; for governments that invest in people and communities to help everyone have a better chance to flourish and thrive. For reimagining justice and equity.
There is a US president who is an aspiring authoritarian; pushing the ethics, norms, and laws of what is acceptable in a democracy, and actively causing harm to the people and country he is meant to serve.
In the midst of this chaos, many people are in a position to fight for a different path for this country, and for our US communities. Our country and our communities are what’s at stake. Our people. Our ability to mitigate climate change in real ways as a nation and as a planet is also at stake. The United States could lead deep transformation worldwide to mitigate the effects of climate change – but only with new US leadership. Deep transformation in the US now can help us get there. This work here helps us do that kind of deep transformation.
Americans need to throw everything we’ve got at all of it – at every level. We need to engage with everything.
We – all of us – can spread a massive outbreak of civic engagement. This is a framework to catalyze that. We can help people and organizations get involved if they haven’t been before, with tools for more structural action. People are looking for things they can do to help; for more than voting and protests. This initiative is designed for exactly that.
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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