The COVID-19 Pandemic Project

Why The COVID 19 Pandemic Project?

The COVID 19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on many individuals and communities throughout the United States. The statistics are overwhelming. The personal stories are heartbreaking. The financial cost staggering. The impact is experienced regardless of class, geography, gender, religious background, political affiliation, in other words its a unifying tragedy.

The COVID-19 Project is an experiment in citizen engagement (Citizenism) inspired by the belief that we as citizens must engage with our fellow citizens and relevant stakeholders to achieve solutions to the challenges that face our communities and our nation. More directly the COVID-19 Project tests the hypotheses that citizens, provided with an organizing format*, information and tools can be trusted to and should be involved in solving complex social problems. The Project’s primary goal is to address the political (eco) system and the role of the citizen within it, the challenges of the system will be taken as a given and the presentation will focus on the actual aspects and problems associated with the COVID 19 pandemic.

In many ways the COVID 19 Pandemic has come to highlight and act as a symptom for many underlying challenges faced by the body politic of the United States as well as globally. The unprecedented toll that the pandemic has inflicted has exposed more clearly of the social and political pathology in the US. It has exposed the many economic, social, heath-care cleavages in our society. Using the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis as a symptom and the role of the political and social ecosystem in its emergence, devastating impact and potential treatment with a citizenism approach allows us to explore a deeper understanding and introduce potential solutions.​

​In particular, using the COVID 19 Citizen Commission structure, the project is focused on exploring various political, social and other institutions and processes from the citizen perspective. For example, examining the role of the citizen within the COVID 19 pandemic can highlight and help better understand the complexity of the ecosystem and to introduce a framework for citizen engagement locally, nationally and globally. More specifically, keeping with the medical case presentation framework, an understanding of the complexity associated with social and political challenges may provide a more contained experiment for a citizen based tool box to engage with the relevant stakeholders that are relevant to the the emergence and evolving devastation of the COVID 19 pandemic. Suggestions are made to utilize the process and these tools to address other complex problems facing our counties, cities, states and the nation and more broadly the world. By using a complexity lens to examine the challenges associated with the pandemic we are able to more clearly recognize the components and process that evolved over the decades from the constitutional architecture.

The complexity of the pandemic provides an excellent case example to explore the potential for expanding the understanding the role of the citizen in American Democracy. The interconnected and complex challenges of a rapidly spreading pandemic caused by a novel virus, the uncertainty of treatment, the need for painful interventions with devastating impact on the economy provide an excellent framework to test a citizen centric approach to address problems facing our nation. It sets a spotlight on the cause and offers a “treatment” citizen oriented approach to underlying challenges in the US body politic. It sets a spotlight on the cause and offers a citizen oriented “treatment” for the underlying challenges in the US body politic. Rather than seeking blame, we leverage an understanding to alleviate the pathology.

Like the symptoms associated with the SARS-CoV-2 infection and the illness it causes, the COVID 19 Project focuses on the underlying “symptoms of the diseases of the US political system”. These symptoms are in many ways an epiphenomena for a more virulent if not “mortal disease” of the US body politic. The environment that maintains the veracity of the symptom is the political/ economic reality (Democracy-Capitalism) that leads to despair/ alienation, marginalization, hopelessness, helplessness. As the consequences of the political intervention of shutting down the economy leading to tens of millions of job loss the psychological impact is likely to be great.

In order to fully understand the pathology and provide treatment the following must be considered:

1. The limitations (failure) of government (federal, state and local) to address the challenges of a pandemic.

2. The failure to provide a unified voice that enhances public understanding and response to the challenges of the pandemic.

3. The unintended consequences of governmental action.

4. The ease with which the governmental power tramples civil liberties.

5. The impact of systemic racism on institutions

6. The inadequacy of the media to provide the public deep, contextualized information that can impact the course of the pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic Project Strategic Plan

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The COVID 19 Pandemic Project is  an initiative of Citizens4Health, a group of committed citizens motivated by the belief that citizen participation will contribute to solutions to the big problems that confront our nation.

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