What is our vision of America’s ideal future?
Ideas matter. Ideas have power. The ideas of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution inspired Americans to continually perfect our values-based democratic republic. The Declaration and the Constitution, our national charters, combined tragic compromises of white supremacy and slavery with the vision of freedom and equal rights for everyone. (On the top bar under Purpose, open Of Our Nation to see the history of civil war, constitutional amendments, and citizen movements to realize the ideas of our vision.)
At the nation’s start, there were two competing visions. Thomas Jefferson envisioned a nation of independent farmers and craftsmen, with a small central government mainly for defense. Alexander Hamilton envisioned an industrial America with factories, banks and a strong central government to aid development.
Our world is very different from that of Jefferson and Hamilton. Information technology and globalization have transformed our economy. Some Americans have become rich and most others have fallen behind. In our era of growing inequality and fears of terrorism, climate danger, and social conflict, there is no shared vision for America’s future.
Politicians offer policies like medication which promises to cure fears of the future. But these policies only address symptoms. The cure requires a vision of an America based on the values of the Declaration and Constitution designed for the new reality.
When there is no shared vision, politics becomes a fight over policies without the understanding of their overall benefit, relevancy and how they would be carried out.
Only citizens can change society. People’s ideas can change and sometimes change rapidly. A vision provides ideas to focus change and policies that lead toward a desired future. As we face new challenges, this conference will work toward a vision, based on the best in America and our founding values, to inspire action and realistic hope for a better future.
It is fitting and proper we meet in the People's House, the US Congress. Speakers will come from across the ideological spectrum. The conference will be constructive, in the words of Lincoln “with malice toward none, and charity for all” since “we are friends, we must not be enemies”.
- define the problems and challenges;
- describe the ideal future that addresses those problems and meets those challenges; and
- focus what citizens can do through the political process and in civil society to realize that ideal future.