I was first introduced to Code for America when I stumbled across Jen Pahlka’s TED talk earlier this year. As she explained the concept of utilizing the most innovative web and mobile systems to empower a new breed of citizenship in the U.S., I immediately understood the significance of what CfA was working towards. Unfortunately, I too had fallen victim to the mindset that career politicians and back-room deals had become the standard; the way things worked in government. If CfA could help reignite the spark in all of us that the blanket of bureaucracy had extinguished, maybe things could change. Until Jen’s talk, I had not fully realized how putting information into the hands of the people could change anything. Let’s face it; we’re preoccupied with work, family, and all of the other things that we give priority to in our lives. Why would a mobile app or website change anything? After doing some research, I found technology has made some amazing leaps in recent years, and thanks to open sourcing and programs like creative commons, a new era of creation, distribution, and remixing has surfaced like no other in history.
I am “coding for America,” because I think people are capable of achieving great things together. If given the right tools, citizenship shifts from an abstract term to actionable tasks. Whether it’s adopting a hydrant or reporting non-emergency issues, citizens can take charge to help focus attention and prioritize efforts in a much more organized fashion. The internet can provide a dynamic, supportive, less-costly role in solving problems than traditional taxpayer funded means, all while simultaneously developing a sense of community.
The one thing that is needed is participation. We live here; let’s work together to improve it. The state we find ourselves in is only due to our own actions, or lack thereof. We can all agree that many things need to be addressed; so take it step by step, get informed, and start locally. The web has changed the game. It’s time that we rethink the role government can play in our lives. As Code for America progresses and continues to grow, I am proud to see what these passionate, new-era revolutionaries are contributing to the world.
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.