America Speaks But Who Listens?

Can 3,500 “regular Americans” come up with at least one good idea?

At a robustly informative event at the University Club in Chicago in late July hosted by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation about the fiscal future of America, MacArthur president Robert Gallucci explained America Speaks, a project partially funded byMacArthur along with other private foundations.

The innovative and inclusive project, headed by Carolyn Lukensmeyer, “discussed ways ordinary Americans can deal with problems,” Gallucci said.

America Speaks is an Everyman solution to every America’s financial concerns. The project was a 21st Century Town hall meeting launched in Philadelphia with 3,500 participants across 60 American cities in late June.

Chicago’s Navy Pier  was one site that attracted 500 eager participants. From Detroit to Des Moines, Louisville to Dallas, a diverse group of Americans came together to brainstorm for ways to secure our nation’s future fiscal health.

According to Gallucci, “A nation that does not control its finances does not control its destiny.”

Great democratic idea creatively executed, but will policy makers hear any of it? Really? Or will the results, painstakingly gathered, organized and streamlined, just be more everyman anecdotes for political stump speeches?

We’ll see.

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