Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

Civic Engagement= JFK's questions + MLK's dream

Posted by Brent Willis on 4/10/13 7:45 PM

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What is missing from today's grassroots campaigns?

On the mall in Washington, DC in the 1960’s a movement began that would forever change how people saw each other, their government and the world they lived in.  A new world was born giving birth to the potential of people.  Prior to that, a president sat before the people and asked what we could do collectively for the country, not what the country could do for them resulting in a new kind of society.  A society of dreamers and doers.  What if that was the prevailing thought in government today?  Where is JFK and the question he asked?  Where is MLK and the dream that untied so many?

Why Votility Advocacy Software is Stepping Up

A recent conversation with a colleague stuck with me when they said, "Imagine the power of taking the dream of Martin Luther King ("I have a dream because we all have dreams on how government should work FOR us; some different than others.") and the question of John F. Kennedy ("Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.") and married them together to create an online tool that helped people engage directly with their government about the specific issues that matter to their lives..."

And it really struck me how important that was, and how much in danger it was at the same time.

We all have dreams.  We all have questions.  And we all WANT answers.

Answers from our kids, our co-workers, our spouses and especially our GOVERNMENT relations.

It's in the collective voice we all have that is the foundation of the American dream and it is right here.  It’s these core ideas that fuel the Votility web-based advocacy platform that marries JFK’s question with MLK’s dream. 

Have you ever asked yourself any of the following about your government?

  • Do I know what is real and what is exaggerated? Does anyone?
  • Do I know how to find out the truth and tell my representatives what I think and what I want them to do?
  • Do I believe that your government is listening to me?
  • Why aren't the local, state and federal agencies (whose job it is to serve the people) doing a better job of informing us?
  • Or are the bureaucratic offices anything more than spin machines for the prevailing political bosses?
  • Does the Department of Human Services really know all the details of what is in the federal health care bill, how it will work and be implemented nationally? (Odds are, and now facts reveal they don’t.)
  • How can one set of economists, using empirical data come to one conclusion and another set of economists, using the same empirical data, come to completely different conclusions? Now consider that these same economists are the so called "experts" that the politicians use to base their messaging on.

Have you found yourself saying:

  • "It’s too confusing to understand and follow legislation and find a truthful source that will shoot straight."  
  • "I'm just one person, what can I do?"
  • "No one listens in government anyway because they're all playing at a different level than I am."
  • "This is just the way it is and there is nothing we can really do about it. It's not worth the stress and hassle."


So who, and what, are we, the people to believe?  Many times, we accept the state we live in and conclude nothing can really be done and decide its not worth wandering in the political wilderness.

The internet has completely changes how people find, receive and even process information. Changes to how search engines rank sites in their results is complicated, a new social media trend develops every other week, and the average person is bombarded with news 24/7. (When was the last time you left your cell phone at home and didn't feel like you had to turn around to go get it?)

What matters is getting droned out, and it's happening on both the citizen and government levels.

Why can't there be a source for government relations that just takes the legislation, the amendments to that legislation, and displays for consumption without all the spin, innuendo and barbs?

There is.  Its called Votilty.  Your dream.  Your questions.  Your movement.

civic engagement & grassroots campaign success truths

photo credit: sandy_sanders via photopin cc
Brent Willis

Written by Brent Willis

People want to be heard other then just voting every 2,4, or 6 years. Groups that engage them and measure it are positioned to win the public policy battles of the future. My vision and mission is to revive the civic engagement of the American citizen in government relations; at the federal, state, and local level.

Topics: civic engagement, grassroots campaigns, government relations