Regardless of your political persuasion, you've likely become a more engaged citizen now than ever before, because the grand experiment has not turned out the way you thought it would. You’re either completely depressed and dejected or surprised and elated. With the Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other, the U.S. government is really the largest A/B experiment in the world. But that's exactly what we forget: it's an experiment.We think we are watching politics, but what we are really watching is an A/B test. In A/B testing, one solution wins out over another. Tests always start with a set of assumptions. Assumptions are informed by values, such as: Liberty, Equality & Self-Government. A winning result means both sides to develop and refine their processes, prompting new questions, but one solution dominates.The shock (and surprise) being expressed right now are reminders that we got complacent with our own values, and with the grandness of the experiment. We forgot the magnitude of the opportunity and the impacts of losing liberties.Experiments require ongoing participation. Results are never taken for granted. Living in one of the greatest experiments of our time, we have the privilege of directly participating in through voting, activism, volunteering, or dedicating our careers to a regional problem or public service.
How many of us do two or more of those things on an ongoing basis?
When we don't have to earn our rights by fighting a war, surviving a depression, or managing a natural disaster--all of which rely on government systems--we forget our core values and take our liberties for granted. We get complacent. We begin to feel entitled to a particular outcome from the great experiment. If this occurs, it means the refinements happening are no longer. Over time, the results of the test are less and less inclusive of the whole. The test has become, in fact, rigged to one side or the other.We are consuming reason and facts and evidence and science and feedback—en masse—more than we ever have before. Synthesizing information is a messy process. So is governing. Meaningful shifts do not come from one test. They come from thousands of tests.Government is less efficient than business, by design. It is a giant barge, not a nimble aircraft. Systemic change that lasts gets fully integrated by society, like minimum wage, social security, civil rights, or voting rights takes time. It requires everyone participating in the experiment, not just the leader, to commit to playing a long game. For example, the judicial appointment to the Supreme Court was not 45’s victory, but a predictable outcome of 30 years of painstaking work by an organization most people are just now hearing of: the Federalist Society.
How will you choose to engage?