Definition of first responder. : a person (as a police officer or an EMT) who is among those responsible for going immediately to the scene of an accident or emergency to provide assistance.
Although America has largely begun using this term after 9.11, I feel it is appropriate when speaking about those citizens worldwide who are motivated to actively co-create democracies that actually serve the people, not just a few of the people. I am NOT talking a radical revolutionary change. I feel democracies lack a fundamental and easy way for their citizens to participate in the process. I aim to change that. It is a very simple principle but a massively difficult task to implement. Building better democracies is not decidedly the sexiest of topics and to motivate people to engage is darn near impossible. People feel powerless. They feel it's just not possible to change the system.
Take heart, we CAN DO THIS TOGETHER. With great power comes increased responsibility. We collectively have the responsibility as caretakers of the future, for the earth and for our children.
So now I will share a snap shot of the First Responders in the Citizen Wish List Project that aims to give democracies a simple, fair, transparent way to voice their wants & needs as well as share real examples of what IS working. This last part is especially important for it is a new safeguard to protect the things we are doing right from arbitrarily being canceled.
1. 71% replied 'Yes, I definitely feel strongly that I am a Continental citizen as well.'
Nearly 29% said 'I feel neutral about being a Continental citizen as well as a national of the country where they live.'
For Americans this may seem like a redundant question. It is easy to take for granted the immense sense of space and community we share. This however, is not the case in Europe or Asia or even South America. Citizens there don't have that automatic feeling of solidarity. Do not automatically assume that because there is the European Union that the people of Europe have a similar feeling about their neighbors as Americans from different states. For this reason it is very difficult to build consensus on issues that cross borders.
2. There are six countries represented by First Responders in these initial statistics of the Citizen Wish List Project. They are: Czech Republic, USA, Germany, Netherlands, Greece & Pakistan.
Interesting mix. Not at all the ones I thought may be first responders.
3. 64% were born in the country where they now live, 36% were not.
4. 50% have lived in a different country than where they were born for more than one year, half haven't.
This question has a special purpose. This is the magic. The CWL tool itself is the gold, but these folks are the magic for they are the ones who have lived outside of their own culture, seen it with different eyes and spent the minimum amount of time to interact and learn from people of different land, i.e. seen other practices in action. It takes a minimum of one year of total immersion to BEGIN to understand these things because they live it - a whole year of changing seasons, holidays, cycles, etc.
50% is a pleasantly surprising number. Remember though, that this are just the initial statistics and the project was launched in Europe, not America per se. I fully expect to see a shift here as participation grows.
5. The gender mix is approximately 50% male, 29% female and 21% not.
What???? You ask . . . Well, I tried to be a bit progressive by giving transgender folks another option. I do not believe the 21% is a realistic figure at all. The reason for this is the way in which the question was formed: 'Are you of the male or female persuasion, yes or no?' There was a drop-down box give an option to choose M, F, or NO. I do think people thought it would be humorous to say no. I don't expect all of this to be smooth sailing and this was a learning experience for me. The question has since been modified. This does not mean however that we want to exclude any transgender person from participating, quite the opposite. Their voice matters too. There is far more to the makeup of an individual than determined by sex. This is more realevant to this project than a person's gender. As the conversations deepen gender issues will reflect those opinions. Being a human being is all-inclusive enough.
6. Age range of #CWL First Responders:
All First Responders fall between the ages of 21-65. The breakdown is as follows:
21-30 - 36%
31-40 - 21%
41-50 - 21%
51-65 - 21%
Important to know about these numbers is the fact that this project is open to children. We want to hear their voices too. There are two categories; 15-20 and Under 15. Children are growing up faster these days. Parents & teachers, I hope you encourage the children in your charge to take an active part in their government. Democracy is an audience participation sport. It will be more responsive to our needs if more get in the game. Here is the way to do just that. Of course we care deeply about the elders and wish also that they share their wisdom as well as voice their wants and needs. For this reason there is a 65+ category for respondents.
There are also a number of control questions designed to help grow awareness for and participation in this endeavor.
7. Would you like to participate by translating this survey into another language?
Thank you! I love you. Awesome news.
8. Nearly 36% of first responders said they would help to spread the word about CWL by submitting a video.
Totally awesome, we welcome this with open arms. Video rocks! Please keep your word. The world needs your input in this way too.
9. More than 64% said they would like to connect with other people interested in the #CWL Project.
Beautiful. As the platform grows we will build a community forum into our website. For now, comment and connect with each other across the vairous platforms we are using - FB, Twitter, the Good News Revue blog, Pinterest, Aboutme.com and more. We also plan to begin regular Google Hangouts & FB Hangouts on a regular basis.
10. 92% said they would share the link for #CWL with friends, family & colleagues.
AWESOME ! This is absolutely key right now until we reach a critical mass of participants for this project.
11. Would you like to make a financial contribution to support the #CWL?
50% of participants said a resounding 'YES, I believe we can effect positive change together. Here's my contribution.' The fact that this project has gotten this far is a testament to the power of sweat equity and a sense of giving back. The truth is though, as it grows it will no longer be possible to handle in this way. The truth also is that as this grows it will become a sizable job creator and volunteer hub as many, many people will be needed to manage the massive amounts of information it will generate across the categories of topics and over time.
Remember, the goal here is to implement a new tool to participate in the democratic process. This cannot work on automatic pilot.
12. Wishes for upcoming surveys . . .
'Go deeper Go deeper into each topic', they said!
This IS EXACTLY how this is designed to work, folks. First we need to inventory the Wishes & Real Examples, then we begin to go deeper and wider.
So many people said 'Thank you', 'Thank you', 'Bless you for doing this.' This was especially heartwarming to hear. It says people are ready for something like this and hungry to find a better way to participate in the democratic process.
Many people also said that they consider themselves Global citizens : ) Me too.
Many people also share links to programs or articles that show evidence of the REAL EXAMPLES of what IS working. Thank you all for this especially.
Finally, I'd like to share a nice quote someone sent in. They said . . .
'Don't forget what Winston Churchill said - ''Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.'' So maybe we need something new.'
I hope you have been inspired to #Engage4Change. Please jump in right NOW and add your voice to the conversation starters in the Citizen Wish List Project by clicking the link.