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The Wise Democracy Amendment

This suggested Wise Democracy Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a work in progress. Experience with the Wisdom Council process ... especially in Austria where the Wisdom Council is being enacted into state constitutions ... has shown ways to improve the process beyond the “Citizens Amendment” originally proposed in the 2002 book Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People.

  • Section 1Wisdom Council Process: There shall be an ongoing series of national Citizens Wisdom Councils, at least two per year. Each Wisdom Council is comprised of twelve to twenty-four citizens randomly selected from voter registration roles who gather for two to five days. They are given an issue of vital importance and are dynamically facilitated to create unanimous perspectives. These perspectives are “Statements of the People.”
  • Section 2 —Who selects the issues: The executive branch and the legislative branch take turns in presenting issues to the Wisdom Council. Plus, citizens can also select additional topics and Wisdom Councils through a citizen initiative process.
  • Section 3The National Community Cafe: All citizens are invited to come together in different venues to hear the Wisdom Council present its perspective. The report consists of three elements: 1) Statements of the People created by the Wisdom Council 2) Sharing the story of how these statements were created by the Wisdom Council; and 3) Personal reflections from members of the Wisdom Council on their experience. Once the Wisdom Council finishes its short presentation, it disbands. Then the citizens visit with one another in face to face conversation about their insights from these conclusions and they informally register the level of resonance.
  • Section 4—The "We the People" Conversation: After the National Community Cafe all citizens are encouraged to continue the public conversation. All are given an opportunity to keep building the ideas and assessing the overall level of support for the Statements of the People. Much of this conversation can continue online. Because of the Wisdom Councils happen regularly, this facilitates a new “We the People” public conversation. to approximate a Constitutional Convention, where “We the People” build a shared perspective about what’s going on with the issue and what we all want to happen.
  • Section 5—Assuring the Essential Quality of Conversation: Each Wisdom Council must be facilitated in a way that assures "choice-creating," the desired quality of talking and thinking natural to “We the People.” This quality is heartfelt, collaborative and creative where citizens seek “what's best for all” answers. Dynamic Facilitation is used within the Wisdom Councils to assure choice-creating -- building unity and enthusiasm for “Statements of the People.”
  • Section 6—Wisdom Council Commission: A rotating group of twelve former Wisdom Council members are convened to assure capable oversight to the process. Especially, they determine procedures by which the issues are given to Wisdom Councils, provide for capable Dynamic Facilitation and assure ongoing support to the national “We the People” conversation. Three elected members from each of the previous four Wisdom Councils serve on the Wisdom Council Commission. The Wisdom Council Commission itself shall also be dynamically facilitated.

Note: It’s hard to find any risk to this proposal. It’s just adding a new conversation to what we already have. The fact that it’s a Constitutional Amendment merely assures that this new conversation is chartered into existence by “We the People.” It’s just randomly selecting some citizens periodically who give a speech and go away. There is no coercion any kind, or immediate change to existing institutions. ... ... But the benefit potential is immense!

Benefits include:
The Wise Democracy Amendment provides an innocuous-seeming systemic way to:
  • Transform the quality of political conversation so that it becomes more inclusive, respectful, creative and consensual.
  • Generate a bottom-up shared vision and sense of the “public interest.” One politician said, “It’s like wind at my back.”
  • Generate new solutions to crucial public issues, plus the political will to implement these solutions.
  • Generate a spirit of national and global community.
  • Facilitate a new system of ”Wise Democracy into being where “We the People” provide responsible leadership to government, the courts, and to society in general.
  • Preserve and enhance individual freedoms and deepest human values, and support the expression of people’s individual creative gifts.

Staff and elected leaders of the Austrian state of Vorarlberg have contributed to this strategy in two key ways ... 1) Showing that the issue need not be selected by the Wisdom Council, that the issue can be selected ahead of time and given to the Wisdom Council. 2) Providing a strategy by which citizens can provide the issue as well as elected officials.

Video interview from 2010 about the Wise Democracy Amendment ...

Video interview on the Wise Democracy Amendment (8/27/10)