Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Role for Average Citizens on Gun Task Force

President Obama predictably called for the establishment of a Task Force to study the issue of gun crime, including obvious ancillary issues like mental health care and access to weapons.

The Task Force, to be chaired by the Vice-Presiden,  will undoubtedly include a variety of politicians and public policy experts with a broad base of knowledge on the issue(s). The panelists will of course cut across the political spectrum, including libertarians, conservatives, liberals, and some moderates. Of course, regardless of an individual's political leanings, the most important issue is whether the participants can set aside ideology once the hard work of constructing a viable pubilc policy recommendation is made. More important than broad ideological involvement is the need for pragmatism.

It has always been my position that the vast number of American citizens are "ideologically" pragmatic, and that pragmatism is truly the dominant ideology in our nation. Americans don't "swing" conservative or liberal, they gravitate to the Party that presents the most pragmatic public policy. Indeed, the current trend towards the Democratic Party does not represent a shift in thinking to a more liberal view, but instead represents the fact that Republicans have failed to offer any perceived pragmatic solutions to contemporary issue.

In addition to this need for pragmatism among the politicans and "experts," I believe that it is time for our "transformational" leader to do something truly transformative and include the general public in the Task Force.There is absolutely no reason that average American citizens cannot participate. Not only would there inclusion represent a true desire to give citizens a voice, but it would help insure greater transparency in the process.

There is no reason why a computer cannot select average Americans and see if they are interested in participating. If more citizens are desired, then maybe we should consider empowering a second Task Force that will directly represent public views. A survey can be used to insure the inclusion of diverse viewpoints, and a proven leader can be found to guide the Task Force.

I don't know about you, but I would be extremely interested in seeing what kind of solutions a "public task force" would come up with compared to theTask Force of experts.

The inclusion of average citizens in the policy making process would be a truly transformational act by our President. I implore him to consider seeking out and including average voters in this Task Force and any future task force empowered to constuct new public policy. Its time to make our democracy a bit more democratic, and this would be a wonderful step in the right direction.

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