August 1, 2012
We cover a lot of ground here at the Idea Peepshow. Pop culture. Sports. Trends. Stuff we think is cool. Or not cool. We’ve always thought of it as a window into our culture and the things that inform our strategic and creative process.
What it hasn’t been is a window into our politics.
As politics have become more and more partisan and divisive, it seems like civil discussions of the issues of the day are a thing of the past. A good, honest exchange of political ideas and opinions simply no longer seems possible, which is why we have chosen to stay away from politics altogether here at the Peepshow. Not an easy thing to do for an agency full of political junkies representing the broad spectrum of ideologies.
Enter Ned Crosby, Jim Meffert and something called The Jefferson Center for New Democratic Processes. Several months ago, we were contacted by this St. Paul-based, non-profit organization as it began a search for an agency that could help turn a powerful idea into action. Their idea? Return the democratic process to ordinary citizens by bringing them together to learn about the key issues confronting them. That learning then leads to informed, non-partisan consensus about what should be done.
What a concept! The process, called Citizens Juries, is one which Crosby has perfected over the past 30 years. And it’s worked over and over again.
As the 2012 election season heats up, Crosby and Meffert, the idealistic and bright fellow he’s hand-picked to carry this powerful idea into the future, are taking their show on the road. And we’re along for the ride. Jefferson Action, as it’s now called, has assembled a Citizen’s Jury in Ohio’s hotly contested and redrawn 16th Congressional District, where two incumbents are vying for the right to go back to Washington.
As part of this Ohio initiative, we’ve launched a new identity and website, and created an integrated marketing campaign that will ensure that this powerful idea for reclaiming democracy has a chance maintain momentum until Election Day and well beyond.
As the race in Ohio has devolved into the usual mudslinging, Jefferson Action and a representative group of citizens are turning up the heat on the candidates to ensure that their campaigns stay civil and focused on issues that really matter in that district. The campaign, called “Reclaim November, Ohio!,” is starting to gain traction, as the local media has taken notice, and one candidate has already pledged to meet with group. It’s enormously gratifying to see this thing take off, and we’re extremely optimistic about the outcome.
If you like what’s happening in Ohio, and want to see more ordinary citizens empowered to bring their voice back into the democratic process, we encourage you to get involved. The Star Tribune’s John Rash wrote a great piece about Jefferson Action over the weekend, and you follow the action in Ohio here. If you are so moved, we’d be delighted if you donated to Jefferson Action, as the group hopes to spread this initiative around the country in future elections.
And as you ponder that notion, I’ll leave you with the words of Thomas Jefferson:
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”