Since so few people know we exist yet, I suppose I’m writing this for history’s sake. One day, LawMaker is going to be a huge success…or abject failure…and this first post will offer a couple choice quotes to whoever is writing the habitual annual article about the potential for political technology to save our democracy. So here goes:
Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of LawMaker.io!
:: TRUMPETS BLARING ::
:: CRICKET CHIRPING ::
Right, I should most likely explain what the heck LawMaker is.
It’s exactly as it sounds. LawMaker is a place to make laws. A website whose core mission is to crowdsource good public policy. But not just for congress members or senators.
And not for lobbyists or politicos.
For everyone. For all of us. And entirely for free.
The problem with our political system is most Americans don’t feel their political involvement makes any difference. Or that it even CAN make a difference. 57% of Americans feel politics and elections are so controlled by wealthy interests that it doesn’t matter if they vote. (PRRI, 2016)
And in a small way, they’re right.
Voting every two to four years doesn’t make a ton of difference. Sure, you theoretically get to help choose who runs the country, and there are those races that are won by a handful of votes. But generally, your vote doesn’t really make policy happen.
Engaging in politics BETWEEN elections is what really has an impact on policies at the federal, state and local levels. And yet, so few of us do anything politically proactive between election cycles.
I know. We have jobs and families; friends and engagements; Netflix and cat-videos. We Just Don’t Have The Time.
I hear you, I really do. And while politicians and the talking heads on TV love to cluck at us, telling us civic engagement is our patriotic duty, many of them are perfectly happy we’re not actively participating.
It makes politicians’ lives easier when they get to govern without voter attention and input. Parties can be less open and responsive because too many of us are party-loyal out of laziness all the way down the ballot. And it gives the media more power if we sit around letting them tell us what to think, rather than make our own decisions.
And frankly, many of us would like to pretend that our government isn’t our responsibility.
We’ve all contributed to a civic environment where we feel we can’t make a difference, so we don’t even try.
It took me years as a political consultant and recovering lobbyist to figure all of this out (yes, I’m very very slow). And another year before I was finally and maniacally FED UP enough to do something about it. Two excruciating startup years later, and here we are today.
So, what is LawMaker? It’s a way for all of us ― each and every one of us ― to have a say in how our cities, counties, states and country are run.
This is NOT a one-button app. “Click here and your law is born!” Nope, sorry ― government doesn’t work that way.
LawMaker is an opportunity for Americans like you to engage in our current political ecosystem like never before. A way to fit politics into your existing life but still move the needle. And, when you too are finally fed up and want to change something, LawMaker is a way to work with the people around you ― people of ALL parties ― to turn a half-baked idea into a really good policy.
And then work that policy through the system to turn it into a law.
As I said, LawMaker is a place to make laws.
Who Are We?
You deserve to know about the people behind LawMaker.
There are actually just two of us. I am Amit Thakkar, a Democratic political consultant in California. My hard-working partner, Jon Brennan, is a Republican web and app developer in New York. No big staff or fancy offices, no outside financial backing (though we are hopeful), just two guys with laptops and wi-fi who got really tired of politics as usual and decided we had to at least attempt to do something about it.
We both believe government needs to look after vulnerable people, but that it needs to be responsible for spending as well. We both believe borders exist for a reason, but that almost all Americans are immigrants, and more importantly, we are all humans, and our government needs to make policies based on our humanity. We both believe a nation has a right to defend itself, but that prioritizing the machines of war over the endeavors of peace, can often push us into conflict.
The gray areas between our beliefs are often wide ― that’s where screaming matches start for most people ― but there’s one thing we believe in most of all. When the political process is fair, when we follow our democratic principles, and when we treat the minority that disagrees with us with the same respect we want when we are the minority ― then Jon and I can generally live with the political outcome, no matter how imperfect.
We also believe one more thing. Today’s political process, is nowhere near fair or democratic. Democracy, even in a democratic republic like America, is about people controlling their government. Today, Americans do not feel in control. In fact, they feel like their government doesn’t listen to them at all.
Democracy in America, is broken.
Jon and I have worked on LawMaker every night, weekend and free moment for the past two years because we wanted to take a small step toward fixing things. Our mission is to empower all Americans and remind them that each and every one of us is capable of influencing our government.
We launched LawMaker publicly on October 4, 2017. We are officially one day old. It is our hope you believe in our mission, and will become a part of this community.
Democracy only succeeds when people claim it for their own.
We built LawMaker for you.
Will you claim it?
All the best to you all,
Founder, LawMaker www.LawMaker.io
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PS: LawMaker is a grassroots movement, currently focused on California policies and elected officials (city, county, state and federal). But Jon and I hope to expand into all 50 states as soon as we can put together the resources. An effort like this can only grow with your involvement and support. Please become a part of this movement at www.LawMaker.io and share our mission with your friends and family. We appreciate your support.