My Turn: Introducing F.O.C.U.S. into your life |

My Turn: Introducing F.O.C.U.S. into your life

F.O.C.U.S. ” For Our Country, United States ” is a new nonprofit, nonpartisan, grass roots alliance for citizens who are committed to transforming America through informed civic awareness and appropriate social action.

FOCUS was created out of concerns that the current environmental, social, economic, and political conditions within our country are not sustainable. For example, the United States was founded on the principle of “we the people” actively participating and communicating (voting) in the process of governance.

Today, many citizens are “too busy” to be informed and “not motivated” to vote. A kind of blanket cynicism has deterred nearly half the people from engaging in the political process at all. Even in the last election, when the electorate seemed riveted and highly energized, only 58 percent of the potential electorate voted. This was actually only a 7 percent increase from the previous presidential election.

Sadly, only 35 percent of potential voters participate in congressional elections. Now as Abraham Lincoln brilliantly observed, “You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Hence, there is tremendous value in promoting an active democracy where the highest percentage of citizens participate in the decision-making process and hold representatives accountable to them. Obviously, if most of our citizens aren’t informed and/or don’t vote, the benefits of democracy are seriously limited. “Special interests” become much more empowered to slant issues toward their own limited point of view and to pour huge financial resources into manipulative lobbying and advertising.

The purpose of FOCUS is to expand Truckee’s citizens’ awareness and knowledge in order to empower “we the people” to generate a more sustainable community representing the greater good and creating more accountability and stewardship in government.

To accomplish this, FOCUS will clarify cause and effect relationships in local, state, and national issues through educational videos, documentaries, symposiums, and informative workshops.

The lessons of history and science, relative to current events, will be integrated to elucidate local on up to global issues.

Already, FOCUS has developed working relationships with two highly respected nonpartisan “think tanks” ” The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. and The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, New York City.

Both are dedicated to restoring integrity and solvency to the U.S. government and have accessibility to all levels of government. Truckee can be a model for developing and measuring effective strategies to increase nonpartisan education on issues, encourage citizen participation, and to increase voter turnout.

Additionally, FOCUS will support and enhance the excellent efforts and services of the many highly effective, nonprofit organizations already operating in the north Tahoe area. There are many innovative, successful programs working to sustain community and commerce through more effective education, green energy, organic food, green buildings, individual and family support and information technology.

Essentially, FOCUS intends that the needs of our community be sustained locally and that our voter turnout for all elections and referendums be in the 70 percent range. These parameters will empower “we the people” to be fully engaged in effective governance. As Ghandi said, “When the people lead, the government will follow.”

FOCUS hosted its first event in Truckee on April 23 at For Goodness Sake when David Abshire, president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, spoke on “Presidential Leadership During Financial Crisis.”

For more information on FOCUS, please contact Joe Smith at

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