Photo via ChicagoRealEstateForum.com, "A Contest Even Mikey Would Like"
As a little girl one of my favorite commercials was the "Mikey Likes It" ad for Life Cereal. It was like, how could you not like Life? Even "Mikey," who hates everything, had a smile on his face when he at it.
Talk about effective marketing. I don't know why this is, but fights over which cereal to buy can wind up truly colossal. If you're a sugar type, the fiber freaks drive you nuts and vice versa. Some people insist on granola. And others, very weird if you ask me, like grains combined with berries.
So to this day, when I don't know what cereal to buy, I buy some version of Life. And then everybody is happy. Maybe they are not ecstatic. But they aren't complaining, either.
It seems to me that Open Government ("Open Gov") as a political philosophy and method of administering government works the same way Life does.
Think about it: When you don't know what to vote, you can always vote for Open Government. You can be Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, Independent, whatever: You still want to know what the government is doing to your rights, and how your money is being spent.
When I first joined USAID they put us through a week of orientation. One of our exercises was to sit down with a stranger and find 5 things in common in 5 minutes. (By way of background - they deliver foreign assistance overseas - so this exercise makes a lot of sense.) It was astonishing how well I was able to relate to a stranger once I saw that we were alike in some way.
Obviously there are things that cannot be shared. But in an era when traditional political parties are becoming obsolete to voters, and yet ideological divisions are more stark than ever, Open Gov is proving a common rallying point. I wonder what would happen if we acknowledged this fact and ran with it.
* All opinions my own. Updated November 3, 2013 at 7:23 p.m.