The Establishment of The People
We would like to share the story of how our organization “The People” was launched. After a white nationalists’ rally turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, the events revealed an entirely new level of national division and distrust, so a group of concerned citizens and social activists came together to assess where we are and where we are going as a nation.
It became clear that our country has been in a state of decline, distrust, and stagnation for decades. Dating back to the early ’70s, the result has been that our national finance, health, immigration, and political systems are broken, and our citizens have come to question the future of our democracy.
Americans, out of fear and insecurity, have taken sides with a vengeance. The blaming and demonizing of “those people” on the other side is more vicious and tribal than at any other time since the Civil War. Congress, which has benefited from a broken system fueled by self-interest and self-preservation, has ceased to function in any constructive way to address our nation’s ills.
Our group, which included well known conservative pollster Frank Luntz, social activist, Andrew Shue, and TV Producer Patty Wolfe, set out to see if the American people had irreconcilable differences. After meeting in nine states across the country with over 200 citizens from all backgrounds and political beliefs – the questions were put to them directly. “Do you take responsibility for your future? Can you stop blaming others and work together to fix our broken system? After very intense, 3-hour exchanges – The answers were a resounding YES! From these meetings, more than 70 diverse individuals from 22 different states stepped up and took an active role in establishing The People.
Next, we met a democracy entrepreneur named Katie Fahey – a 28-year-old Michigander who had just shown America that “the people” can absolutely remake the system – state by state and rule by rule. Katie’s success in re-writing The Michigan Constitution to end gerrymandering proved that the rigged system can be rewired. With Katie’s effort and her army of non-partisan volunteers, we found the way. Now we must build the nation’s will. The people are on the move – and we will not stop until we restore the government and the democracy Lincoln imagined – of us, by us and for us.