What is this book about?
A very special and significant moment for humankind is upon us. Yet, it is a moment that most people have not yet recognized. For the first time in our known human history, it is now possible for an unlimited number of people to gather in one place, online, for the purpose of expressing our collective voices and votes, on the very issues that affect us all.
The very recent convergence of the Internet, social media and mobile devices makes this possible. Without changing or enacting a single law and without the need for a constitutional convention, a new national institution can be created and launched right now - one that operates “virtually,” right alongside the goings-on of government. It can provide our elected representative with ongoing advisory input from citizens, on a non-partisan, issue-by-issue basis, every single day.
What are our collective values, intentions, desires, and priorities? Do we really want change? If so, what do we want it to look like? How high a national priority is addressing climate change? Do we believe that health care is a right or a privilege? How about guns – are there any limits to ownership that should be enacted? What about foreign wars? Where do we stand? How soon should we act? In what ways? What is it that we will and will not tolerate, at home and abroad? The answers to questions like these define us as a country, yet up until now, we have only been able to imagine what our real country looks like under the surface.
By presenting important issues to citizens, one at a time, in self-contained “Voting Modules” that include fact-verified educational material, different ways to vote, moderated discussions and a way for popular issues to be disseminated effortlessly and securely, a new “issue-based” democracy will bypass the 2-party system and begin to filter for commonality.
However, the creation of new, national infrastructure for civic engagement, is not something that can or should be left to chance. The same forces that have already corrupted our traditional democratic process will eventually understand the importance of the moment as well, and will attempt to shape the opportunity into one dedicated to quarterly profits, instead of one dedicated to empowering citizens.
The Virtual Country strategy, completely nonpartisan by design, is about collective self-examination and self-discovery on a national and even international scale. It identifies an historic opportunity to update the software of our democracy in a way that re-invites “We the People” to take our rightful place at the table of self-governance. Successfully implemented, it will transform politics as we know it, and will usher in a new era of civic engagement and collective achievement, of which our Founding Fathers could have only dreamed.
About The Author
Richard Lang is a pioneer in the technology industry - founding CEO of Go-Video and co-inventor of the world’s first dual-deck VCR. His is the inventor of “burst technology,” which enabled true video-on-demand, and the founding CEO of Democrasoft, a developer of award-winning, web-based, decision-making tools for education, civic engagement, and groups with common interests..
Richard has been a guest on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, and was featured by Good Magazine as a key influencer of “Future Learning.” Richard was a presenter at the World Cultural Forum in Hangzhou, China in 2013, speaking about online collaboration strategies. Virtual Country represents his vision for empowering citizens in the 21st century, and a road map for getting there.