Leveraging Open Government to Solve Local Issues

When I woke up this morning I was ever-so slightly surprised to see that the local Tea Party is throwing a fairly sizable event this weekend at the North Park Amphitheater in Springboro, which according to their press release on Top Conservative News, will cover “many topics from Nullifying NDAA, Drones, [to] ObamaCare.”

Given the popularity of the Tea Party in Springboro and their dominant presence on the Board of Education, it’s difficult to be completely shocked that residents would gather in defense of the gold standard and the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I personally find it exciting to see so many people rallying around civic participation.

But what continues to elude me is why so many people look at their government as the enemy while promoting further engagement in order to fix the problem. As we’ve seen with the School Board, the result ultimately places more people in positions of authority with their own ideas on how we should spend our money, on lawyers to draft up amendments that reduce the collective bargining rights of school teachers, and on private vendors who teach the Constitution as a divine right.

This is not to say that I have any problems with civic participation or elected leaders leveraging external networks in order to enhance our local community; but that so many of us would lose sight of Springboro while fighting across partisan lines.

For example, apart from the call for more people to run for local office, the only example of a local issue in the Ohio Gun Rights rally is to promote “real farm / real dairy products in Ohio.” While this could be a great opportunity for local farmers to compete with the big name grocers in our area, its place within the list of divisive topics hardly leaves room for liberals and progressives to get involved in such a solution.

This is why Open Government is so important to me, not because it’s “right” and everyone else is “wrong.” Instead, Open Government provides everyone with access to the laws which govern their community, giving us the opportunity to do more than simply “run for office,” but to codesign an experience that serves the interest of the Springboro Community. And judging from the recent interest in Texas Legislature, it’s clear that people are demanding more than simply being represented by people who serve their own personal agendas.

The real question is: How do we make Open Government as popular as the Tea Party in Springoboro?

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