This project is about building a new model of citizen infrastructure supporting a new model of citizen culture of, by, and for strong, active, and capable citizens  … at its root:  common people using common sense & common decency to find common ground for the common good – period – plain & simple!

In an increasingly complex world, keeping things plain & simple is easier said than done.  However, failure to do so is not an option!

We, the people, must:

  • remember that citizen is still the highest office in the land
  • step beyond ideology and keep moving forward together
  • set our differences aside and find common ground
  • practice the deep democracy of civil civic dialogue
  • rediscover the American spirit of entrepreneurial democracy
  • set about designing and building a new system – of the people, by the people, and for the people

…and, WE, THE PEOPLE, must launch the American Evolution to a new model of citizen-led politics!

Learning & practicing civil civic communication is vitally necessary.  It is bedrock. Without out it, nothing of any lasting capacity is possible.  Yet, alone, it is not sufficient.

Civil civic communication creates potential.  We, the people, must complement the many excellent civil civic communication programs with a new model of civil civic infrastructure to actualize the vast untapped potential for true & full self-government that is our common American heritage and our living legacy – if, as Mr. Franklin wisely counseled, “if we can keep it”!

 Sign up for  EMAIL UPDATES to receive news about the American Evolution to a new model of citizen-led politics!

Here are some particularly pertinent quotes capturing the spirit of entrepreneurial democracy inspiring AmericanCommons.com :

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

– Buckminster Fuller

“The most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen.”

Justice Louis Brandeis

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country”

Abraham Lincoln

2nd Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest may repair.

– George Washington

“In a composite nation like ours, as before the law, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny.”

Frederick Douglass

Plural Vision of America“, Oct. 14, 1852, St. James AME Zion Church, Ithaca, NY

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world. Thus we believe that the destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities”

Eleanor Roosevelt

—Excerpt from Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous speech at the presentation of “IN YOUR HANDS: A Guide for Community Action for the Tenth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” March 27, 1958. United Nations, NY.

“…never has there been a time when the great principles of justice, liberty and humanity were put in more imminent peril than at the present moment. Never was there a time when the friends of these great principles were more loudly and imperatively called upon to stand by these principles than now.”

Frederick Douglass

Oct. 14, 1852, Mass Free Democratic Convention, Ithaca, NY

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

There’s been a quantum leap technologically in our age, but unless there’s another quantum leap in human relations, unless we learn to live in a new way towards one another, there will be a catastrophe.

                                – Albert Einstein

 “History, despite its wrenching pain 

cannot be unlived, but if faced

With Courage, need not be lived again.”

Maya Angelou, Inaugural poem“On the Pulse of Morning”

“The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny. Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.”

Frederick Douglass

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?“, July 5, 1852, Rochester, NY

Here are some more great quotes capturing the spirit of  AmericanCommons.com :

“There can be no patriotism without liberty, no liberty without virtue, no virtue without citizens; create citizens, and you have everything you need; without them, you will have nothing but debased slaves, from the rulers of the State downwards. To form citizens is not the work of a day; and in order to have [whole human beings] it is necessary to educate them when they are children.”

Jean Jacques Rousseau

“I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Thomas Jefferson

“This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

Thomas Jefferson

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Across the gulfs and barriers that now divide us, we must remember that there are no permanent enemies. Hostility today is a fact, but it is not a ruling law. The supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of God and our common vulnerability on this planet.

…let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

John F. Kennedy

“… It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863

“Capitalism, Communism, and Christianity are three great ideas that have never been tried.”

Gore Vidal

“Oh, let America be America, again, for it has never been America for me…”

Langston Hughes

The American Dream can no more remain static than can the American nation…. We cannot any longer take an old approach to world problems. They aren’t the same problems. It isn’t the same world. We must not adopt the methods of our ancestors; instead, we must emulate that pioneer quality in our ancestors that made them attempt new methods for a New World.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Autobiography

It is today that we must create the world of the future.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.

Eleanor Roosevelt,  My Day

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively.

Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living

True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Book of Common Sense Etiquette

If you can develop this ability to see what you look at, to understand its meaning, to readjust your knowledge to this new information, you can continue to learn and to grow as long as you live and you’ll have a wonderful time doing it.

Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living

“Man is by nature a social animal, and an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something in nature that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or he is a god.”

Aristotle,  Politics (1253 A) [4th Century BCE]

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”

                               – Plato

They hang the man and flog the woman

That steal the goose from off the common;

But let the greater villain loose

That steals the common from the goose.

The Law demands that we atone

When we take things we don’t own;

But leave the lords and ladies fine

Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape

If they conspire the Law to break;

This must be so, but they endure

Those who conspire to make the Law.

The Law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose from off the common;

And geese will still a common flock

Till they go and steal it back.

English folk poem, circa 1764 (author unknown)

Published on September 13, 2008 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://americancommons.wordpress.com/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: