The Great Game/FIXIT Fact Sheet

Restoring Functionality to American Politics

First a Few Definitions...

Civic Media is any use of any medium or groups of media that invites and enables all members of a community to participate in the definition and solution of problems of concern to the community. Civic Media can also invite and enable all members of a community to participate in the discovery and realization of opportunities that most benefit the community.

The Great Game, as described at our Medium post about solving violence in Chicago, is our generic name for the great game of representative democracy as played in rule-governed, media-based competitions for best solutions to a given problem. This game invites the participation of all members of a given community, local, state or national. It involves solutions developed by competing teams of problem solves with extensive vetting and public discussion of competing solutions and regular votes by community members in order to determine winners. The process of public discussion and community voting is facilitated and regulated by the same combination of citywide telecasts and text voting that have been perfected on reality TV shows like American Idol and The Voice. Winning solutions, having earned the support of citizens and public officials alike, can either been implemented by community members or, when appropriate, can be submitted to elected officials for their possible implementation on a non-binding and advisorial basis.

FIXIT is our non-proprietary brand name a reality TV show whose audience is a community of any size: local, state, national or international. FIXIT is scalable to meet the needs of communities of all sizes. The name is public domain. There can be a Los Angeles FIXIT and a Chicago FIXIT, an Illinois FIXIT and a Portland FIXIT, an American FIXIT and a Sweden FIXIT or, finally, a Global FIXIT. The FIXIT name is public domain. Chicago Civic Media produces FIXIT shows its own, yet at the same time we welcome other producers to use the FIXIT brand name. To stimulate the growth of civic media nationwide. we're making many FIXIT rules and procedures available to anyone who wants to use them. We've given away everything but the Secret Sauce that makes Chicago Civic Media productions uniquely responsive to the needs and strengths of a given community.

The Problem: How to De-Polarize American Politics?

While it's occurring in all cities and all states, this division most visible at the national level. Call it what you will – fake news, elite media, or a handful of billionaires usurping control of American politics – America’s political media, and the electorate as well, have been split into warring camps, left and right, pro-Trump and anti-Trump. This divisive process preceded the election of president Trump by decades. It began with the advent of network TV in the 1960's and the rise of televised election-time political attack ads that now, underwritten by the billions of dollars coming from the so-called political donor class, skew and determine election outcomes at all levels of government. In the process, Americans in our view have not only lost access as a people to the deliberative processes but have also been denied access to the information they need in order to make informed political decisions. American democracy, in our view, is now an oligarchy and is moving towards some form of autocracy or anarchy.

But guess what: that perspective is merely our view! Other perspectives on the state of American politics and political discourse may be more insightful than ours. Our job, as we see it, is to make room for all perspectives that carry weight with the American people. And it is to do so with media programming and formats that inform and empower the American people and their elected representatives to define and solve problems (and maximize opportunities) that best meet the needs of all three communities, local, state and national, of which every American is a member.

It's hardly surprising that the one issue that unites Americans today is voter dismay and disgust with the nation’s political media. What to our minds is astonishing is the fact (so far as we know) that the nation's most intelligent political observers have taken to complaining bitterly about our broken political media without giving so much as a thought to the possibility of creating a better political media. For these observers, the hyperpolarization America's political media, and of politics itself, appears to be as fixed and unalterable as the rising or setting of the sun.

The first step towards restoring a degree of unity and functionality to America's dysfunctional politics is the outright rejection of this limiting, attack-ad, citizen-disempowering mindset.

The Solution: a Non-Partisan, Citizen-Participatory, Issue-Centered, Problem-Solving Civic Media.

Chicago Civic Media took note of this polarizing mindset and rejected it several decades ago. It did so on the strength of our awareness of the experience, expertise and wisdom that ordinary citizens, when informed and empowered, can bring bear in the drive to secure the best futures of all three communities - local, state and natoinal - of which every American is a member. in an informed voice in the political and government decisions that affect their lives.

Since then, we’ve developed an array of multimedia, problem-solving political discourse formats capable of operating at local, state, national and (more recently) international levels. Our most powerful format uses the power of network TV (always supported by other media) to connect all members of a community.

  • Local. This brief Medium post introduces the Great Game as a rule-governed, voter-driven reality TV show focused on solving violence in Chicago. Learn more about Chicago FIXIT here.
  • State. In the state of Illinois, for instance, citizens and politicians can play Great Game Illinois in order to resolve the state’s debilitating financial crisis. Two posts of ours - here and here - show demonstrate the need in Illinois for citizen-participatory forms of government to break the impasse that has rendered its politics dysfunctional in the minds of virtually all observers.
  • National. Americans and their leaders can play America FIXIT to create a health care system, an immigration policy or a drug policy that best serves the American people. America FIXIT creates a level playing field for supporters and opponents alike of a given administration; it fully respects the authority and powers of the nation's leaders. To learn a lot more about it, see America's Choice, our 2006 proposal for politically-themed reality TV.
  • International. Ethan Sewall's 30-page 2017 "FIXIT Model of Global Governance" submission to the Stockholm-based Global Challenges competition shows how the global community of nations can develop and implement best solutions to shared problems like Global Warming.