04/12/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gov't is Listening to Citizens

Some major developments in American democracy are happening, right now, not generally reported by the mainstream press.

In particular, we have a federal government which is getting more and more open about the way it does business, and getting real serious about regular citizens influencing policy in real ways.

This means transparency, like showing where the money goes, and it means platforms where people can work together to tell the gov't what's going on out here.

We just saw Government Agencies Now Open Online for Public Participation and
complement the existing Open Gov't work:

As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to a more open, transparent, and accountable government, 24 federal agencies have launched online dialogs with the public. From now through Mar. 19, agencies will be seeking feedback from the public on their open government plans and web pages.

"President Obama has made a commitment to
transparency and to engage the public in meaningful discussions on how
to improve government and make it more accountable to the American
people," said Chief Information Officer Vivek
. "These public dialogs will enable citizens to share with
their government ideas and feedback to help change the way Washington
does business. By launching the
online public dialogs across government, Americans now have an
unprecedented opportunity to become a part of the process from the
comfort of their own homes."

This stuff is for real, you can check out the national commitment, and as an example, the EPA's commitment:

The Open Government Directive lays out the Obama Administration plan for breaking down long-standing barriers between the federal government and you. We are taking immediate, specific steps to open our doors and data by:

  • publishing government information online,
  • improving the quality of government information,
  • creating and institutionalizing a culture of open government, and
  • creating an enabling policy framework for open government.

We're evaluating our progress in meeting our open government goals.

You can get involved in policy yourself, for example, check out the EPA discussion site.

This really is a significant step toward fixing Washington.