“Ideas for Change in America” top 20

Updated info available at the top ideas list on the site

Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven project that aims to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama Administration and 111th Congress can turn the broad call for “change” across the country into specific policies….

The top 10 rated ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009 as the “Top 10 Ideas for America.” We will then launch a national campaign behind each idea and mobilize the collective energy of the millions of members of, MySpace, and partner organizations to ensure that each winning idea gets the full consideration of the Obama Administration and Members of Congress….

The Ideas for Change in America FAQ

A week after the official launch of the site, and with a month to go until the first round of voting ends, it’s still early days for the contest … but as any sports fan knows, you don’t have to the wait until the playoffs to start watching the standings!

The top three ideas in each category advance to the second round, and the site makes it easy to see who’s leading in each category — for example, the Criminal Justice page currently has Jose Torres’ Legalise the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana in the #1 position,* followed by my Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and Paul Lange’s Fair Investigations of Bush Administration, with blogger Matt Kelley’s Provide Alternatives to Incarceration only a few votes out of the top 3.

Right now, though, the only way to see the overall leaders is to go through each category. While it’s somewhat tedious, this is really important information from my perspective as an ideator and activist — to see how we’re doing, obviously, and even more importantly to see who we should potentially be working with and/or learning from.

The information’s also useful to anybody else with an idea, or any journalists covering the contest, so I figured I’d make it available. Here’s the current top 20 list, as of noon Eastern time:

  1. Pass the DREAM Act Now (Immigration; DREAM Activist, San Francisco CA): 384
  2. Legalise the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana (Criminal Justice; Jose Torres, Newark NJ): 325
  3. Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties (Criminal Justice; Jon Pincus): 260
  4. Build a U.S. Public Service Academy (Government Reform; Chris Myers Asch, Washington DC): 239
  5. Close Guantanamo prison camp (Foreign Relations; Jo OConnell): 224
  6. Pass Marriage Equality Rights for LGBT couples nationwide (Gay Rights; blogger Jen Nadeau):204
  7. Introduce Esperanto as a foreign language subject in schools (Education; Oleg Izyumenko, Lund, Sweden): 201
  8. restore separation of church & state (Gay Rights; Sarah Nelson Wright, Brooklyn, NY): 170
  9. Global Union of States (Other; Rafi Rizvi, New Dehli India): 164
  10. Repeal the Patriot Act (Other; Pierre Loiselle, Carolina Beach, NC): 163
  11. National Holiday on Election Day (Civic Engagement; Pauline Schneider, Katonah, NY): 138
  12. Launch an investigation of corruption and unconstitutionality of the Bush Adminstration (Government Reform; Joseph Schollmeyer, Portland, OR); 135
  13. Fair Investigations of Bush Administration (Criminal Justice; Paul Lange, Lake Stevens WA): 132
  14. Leave Iraq Now! (Iraq War; Clint Thompson): 128
  15. Restore Investments In Rail Service And Infrastructure (Energy; Baratunde Thurston, New York): 127
  16. Act now regarding government transparency (Government Reform; Craig Newmark): 124
  17. Make the grid green in 10 years (Energy; Managing Editor Josh Levy, Brooklyn, NY): 122
  18. Provide Alternatives to Incarceration (Criminal Justice; blogger Matt Kelley, Brooklyn, NY): 121
  19. Plant a large organic Victory Garden on the White House lawn (Agricultural Policy; Roger Doiron, Scarborough, ME): 116
  20. Stop The Live Skinning of Animals everywhere (Animal Rights; Ginette Callaway, Jonesboro GA): 116

How did DREAM make it to #1? Change.Org and Networking for the DREAM Act and The DREAM Act Leads the Pack on are excellent examples of mobilizing activists, complete with a sample email to send friends and suggestions for advocacy on blogs and social networks. The widget for the idea is also featured prominently on the DREAM Act portal. Impressive organizing! Opportunity to achieve our goal (REMOVED) on and Go vote now (front-paged on show that other activist groups are using similar techniques.

One of the things that’s really striking about the list so far is the geographical diversity. True, there’s a major cluster in the New York metro area; there are also ideas from Maine, Oregon, Georgia, California, North Carolina, Washington state, Washington DC, Sweden, and India. This is a very good sign that the parterning with MySpace and the publicity (including a brief mention in Newsweek‘s President 2.0 article) is getting broad involvement.

What did you notice about the ideas in the top 20, or the people behind them?

What suggestions do you have for activists who are trying to advance their cause via

Please discuss!


PS: Hopefully, by next week there will be an automated display of the leaders somewhere on the site … if not, I’ll repeat the analysis.

* the previous #1 in this category, Debora Blake’s Conduct a new, independent investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001 was deleted by yesterday. Jon Gold’s So Much For “Change” on Visibility911 has more.