240 years ago, our founding fathers made a huge leap from governance by divine right to the governance by the citizens. In a time before the use of electricity, steam engines, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, airplanes, they invented a way for citizens to govern themselves by choosing their leaders. They created organizations that balanced power against power to prevent any one individual or group from taking control.
The power of governance in the United States is still in the hands of a relative few individuals that special interests have learned to manipulate. Corporations and collections of individuals with narrow interests have spent time and money learning to bend our representatives to their will. At the same time, vast numbers of citizens have become disillusioned with their elected representatives ability to solve pressing problems affecting all of us.
Less than 10% of the world’s population live in a full democracy. Now with the power of technology and the Internet, we have the ability to distribute power to individuals. We can come together and organize and reorganize to accomplish many things great and small. But making changes to our current democratic institutions should not be taken lightly. As we see around the world, even with the spread of democracy to more citizens, changes to key human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of the press and restrictions on government to effect an individual’s freedoms can have a huge impact on how democracy works for society.
Denver Center for Democracy is setup to provide a place to develop, discuss, test and tweak new ideas and concepts on how to apply new and some not so new technologies to help improve democracy. The results will be available for use by anyone to connect, communicate, debate, and decide on and implement solutions to problems great and small. Many people around the world are working on open source platforms and applications to improve on democracy and this organization will use and support those efforts as well as creating new ones.