When you're trying to change the world, things are going to be up in the air for a while. How do you make sure you're disrupting the status quo responsibly?
RISE hopes to disrupt the political system and jumpstart the “American Dream 2.0.” Some people might think this is a little crazy – to be honest, sometimes we feel a little crazy. But the truth is, the only time the world ever progresses is when people are brave enough to think a little crazy, act a little crazy, be a little crazy, In the early 20th century, people accused Susan B. Anthony of being crazy for daring to suggest women should have voting rights, and we all know how that turned out. Martin Luther King Jr. was called names worse than crazy, but to be fair, his idea of an integrated world was no less than spectacularly insane, given the time period. It’s easy to see, in retrospect, that these revolutions were absolutely necessary. At the time, however, they were too outside the bounds of normality for most people to easily comprehend. Humans are hardwired to default to the status quo rather than embrace change. All too often, we fall into a comfortable routine and never want to leave it.
Donald Trump was like no other candidate we’ve ever witnessed before. To begin with, he was not a politician--a refreshing trait to millions of Americans . Voters had been feeling apprehensive about the calculated nature of politics, and he tapped straight into these unrealized anxieties; he gained their trust by using a populist voice, speaking an unfiltered mind, and employing an unprecedented social media strategy to bypass traditional editorial filters.
For many, his refusal to play by the rules was a breath of fresh air. By writing his own playbook, he undeniably disrupted an increasingly disconnected political establishment. While this disruption was necessary, we at RISE think his approach was irresponsible. Rather than a grand accomplishment of political innovation, it was a dangerous display of hubris that jeopardized the core of our democracy. Donald Trump acted without a plan for when his disruption bubbled to the surface; he ignored valid criticisms of his approach (and was even spurred on by them); he was inflexible when it came to changing his plan when obstacles arose.
For example, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has long been an enormous point of contention for many of President Obama’s detractors. Promising to repeal and replace Obamacare was one of President Trump’s major selling points during his campaign. Staying true to his promise, he signed an executive order on his first day in office to “prepare” for its repeal. While few will deny that there are severe issues with the healthcare system as it currently stands, Trump has refused to provide details for an improved plan. In typical Trump fashion, he has promoted a grand vision with little to back it up. Since millions of Americans rely on at least one element of Obamacare, repealing it without a replacement would be catastrophic to millions of American who depend on it for decent affordable healthcare,. This would be simply irresponsible. Yet, when Trump receives criticism for his talk-first-think-later approach, he responds by throwing what can only be described as a tantrum.
Republicans are not the only ones guilty of irresponsibly disrupting the status quo. In order to disrupt responsibly, we must also listen to those around us - be it our competitors or our supporters - and be willing to give all voices an equal microphone. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were looking to disrupt the status quo in different ways. The DNC was entrusted to treat Clinton and Sanders equally during the primaries, and emails released by Wikileaks tell another story entirely. Those emails made it clear that the Democratic establishment favored Clinton long before votes were cast and the primaries were finished. Regardless of what they felt toward Bernie Sanders, it was unethical and irresponsible not to offer him the same resources they made available to Clinton. Of course, it’s unclear whether or not the outcomes would have been different had the DNC played by the rules, but we do know this: its inability to play fairly has severely hurt its credibility with voters. In trying to create a platform for Hillary Clinton to disrupt the political playing field in her own way, they undermined democracy. And that hurt everyone.
We have to be brave enough to chase the ideals we share. We have to be willing to admit that differing ideologies do not mean enemies of the people. That even with our differences, we have a lot in common. At RISE, we strive to bring these similarities to the surface. To remind people that we are all in this together. . RISE seeks to achieve what we call “responsible disruption.” We agree that American politics needs to be fixed; but we want to do it carefully. We have to balance dreaming big with pragmatic execution. Like the “crazies” before us, we know that we must have a plan for the day that our “crazy” comes to fruition. If we’re courageous enough to imagine the world differently, we have to be smart enough to come up with a better plan. We must accept responsibility for maintaining peace and order and we must remain transparent to our supporters and our critics, and keep an open mind to everyone’s opinions, because there is truth and validity to all perspectives.
RISE wants to build bridges between parties, motivate non-voters who currently feel disinterested or disillusioned, and elect a diverse array of issue-oriented candidates. We are uniquely marrying technology and politics. We passionately believe that focusing on the issues, rather than party lines is the way to successfully navigate the political playing field.
So here’s our promise to you, our faithful followers, volunteers, and even our critics: we will be patient, we will listen, we will be a little crazy - but always responsible, and we will RISE.