Is it a good idea to title our first blog post with a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar?
We’re an organization committed to bringing common sense to American politics. Shakespeare’s play famously tells the story of the violent collapse of the only republic in the history of the world to endure for any length of time before our own experiment in self-government got started.
But after the last ten days we’re feeling the conviction best expressed by Brutus when he urged his compatriots to the defense of Rome. It’s this: We’re living in an unusual moment of political opportunity.
Although our politics have never been more polarized, it is today’s strident, angry, divisive tone that’s galvanizing everyday Americans to the shared conviction that our republic is in need of a strong, cross-partisan, commonsense defense.
We’ve hoped that this was true and we’ve had good reason to hope. Research makes clear that, despite the ugly tone, the public is less polarized than the politicians we’ve elected. It is the American public that can be our country’s saving grace.
On January 14th we started a digital ad campaign to invite everyday citizens to become members of CommonSense American. Over the last ten days our confidence that this is the right moment to extend that invitation has only grown.
The success of CommonSense American will depend on its members. Our initial membership goal—clearly stated on our website—is to gain 1,000 members nationwide with 10 members in every state. When we meet this goal, we’ll pick our first issues to brief.
We thought this goal was ambitious. We wondered if it was reasonable. Would people respond? Could we find 1,000 individuals who weren’t only willing to set aside political divisions to work together but who would also trust the claim of a fledgling organization to be a cross-partisan group genuinely seeking out ideas that can garner the support of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents?
We budgeted our time and resources knowing that it was a big task. We fully expected that it might take us six months to a year to meet our goal.
But in just fifteen days, we’re nearly halfway there. As of January 29th, we have 483 members including 20 states with 10 members or more.
It’s a great feeling. Not just because this will enable us to start the hard, but rewarding work of focusing on the issues to which CommonSense Americans will bring their practical, problem-solving skills, but also because we’ve learned that we’re part of a tide of everyday Americans determined to set aside political divisions in order to work for the good of the country. We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We are conservatives, moderates, and liberals. We’re frustrated, but focused on the future. We’ve been hurt by our government’s failures, but we’re still hopeful.
What we aren’t is divided. We’ve come together in the conviction that our moment is now. Or, to borrow, the words of the ill-fated Brutus that we’re willing to quote with a new hope:
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
(William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar 4:2:270-276)
Thank you for recognizing the moment and embracing the responsibility.
Thank you for joining CommonSense American.