Farewell Address - The Tools of Democracy

Fellow citizens and friends of democracy,

Thank you so much for your hard work in maintaining American democracy these last two years. As we know in Asia Pacific, this is not something to be taken for granted.

Moving forward, I ask you to do something I feel very passionately about, but did not spend nearly enough time articulating during my term - and that is to support the tools of democracy. I encourage you to explore decentralized solutions for communication. I encourage you to embrace encryption and your civil liberties wherever possible. The success of democracy is not a particular platform or data point, the success of democracy is when we can have conversations and listen to each other in ways that have not been manipulated by other actors seeking money or power.

In our increasingly digital world, we must always be conscious of where and how we choose to organize. Is the platform we're organizing on harvesting data? Is it sorting our conversations? Is it open source? Where is its funding coming from? How does it manipulate our messaging? These are all important questions we must always consider and our Executive Committee considered often. I encourage all future political volunteers of any sort to do the same. Words are strong, but where, how, and when you say them will all have a great impact on their meaning.

Most importantly, never forget to cultivate the most important tool you have - your political imagination. Without the ability to dream and imagine a future we want to live in, we will never be able to articulate the societal goals and what good government can be to our constituents, fellow citizens, family, and friends. Without the ability to colorfully present that future, we will always fail to draw the interest of any particular person or group. Few will be motivated to save the world from Climate Change. Almost everyone will be motivated to breathe cleaner air every morning.  

For our lives to improve, we must keep our minds open to what is possible. Today, the words of any single person can be more influential than a news network, and money is being minted and valued by people. Let us look towards expanding the power we have as people. Let us let go of pragmatic assumptions, and cultivate groups around messages of change that we want to see.

I truly thank you all for your support and friendship. Please continue to support democracy, support democratic movements, and the tools of democracy that make those happen. I look forward to seeing what we, the people, can all create together.

Democracy Lives in Transparency,
John Andrew Baumlin Jr.
National Chair & Asia Pacific 2020 Delegate for Bernie Sanders
Democrats Abroad Japan