An annual Village Square membership is $68. To learn more about membership perks and levels, click here. (The Village Square is a 501c3 nonprofit so your donation is tax-deductible within limits of the law.) To find out how we came up with such an oddball number, read on…
A 68% solution is problem solving that aims to widen consensus rather than divide people into feuding camps. This approach considers the more challenging engagement between the political left and right critical to creating intelligent and lasting solutions. It’s how we get a wide view on civic problems. (Our oddball number is from the theoretical 68.2% of a population within one standard deviation of the mean.) Think about the difference between 68% solutions and the usual 51% politics, which seeks only the barest majority to act and relies on tactical strong-arming to get it. Once you’ve got the 51%, it’s winner-take-all with no concern for how we might seek a wider consensus to govern. America’s all about 51% politics these days, and we’re in an entirely different (and much less constructive) civic environment than our grandparents were because of it.
68% solutions are more durable solutions that transcend ideology, discourage political gutter ball, outlast the next election cycle, avoid head-spinning policy shifts, replace the usual short-term political thinking with a long view, and create a stronger foundation on which to build lasting results in the civic challenges we face.
Back in the day, we might have called this statesmanship. When elected, partisan politicians were expected to strive to serve all citizens and work with their political foes to govern. Today, if you didn’t vote for the winning politician, you’re not a constituent, you’re the enemy.
68% solutions aren’t exactly about centrism or creating a mushy middle that doesn’t believe in anything. Good ideas can come from political extremes. 68% solutions aren’t about high tea and crumpets either, as a healthy civic dialogue can get difficult. 68% solutions are about remaining engaged across differences of opinion. America was founded on the notion that the best ideas come out of the struggle of opposing ideas. Without engagement, there is no competition of ideas to sharpen thinking and solve problems with a broad view of facts and potential consequences.
If we’re to keep faith with our founders’ Big Idea, it’s way past time we return to mixing it up in The Village Square. Your $68 donation supports better dialogues and better decision making – one forum, one issue, one community at a time. It’s a big job, but it has to start between neighbors like us in hometowns like this one. And it has got to start now.