Step 1. Principles, Gaps, Solutions Matrix

“Know yourself.” 
– Socrates




What principles matter most to you? What are the biggest gaps between America as it is and America as it should be? What solutions exist to close those gaps?

Take 15 minutes, or 30 minutes, or an hour and do your best to answer these questions. Then make a matrix and enter as succinct a summary as possible of each answer. No more than one to three sentences per square.

This is not an easy test. You may find that on your first attempt many if not all of the squares are blank. Not to worry.

The resulting matrix is the baseline from which you can track your progress.

Any decision made at the ballot box is based on implicit assumptions with respect to the relative importance of some principles, facts, and solutions relative to others.

The first step of thinking citizenship is the ability to identify and articulate those implicit assumptions and turn them into hypotheses that can be tested by further research and through the exchange of matrices (see Step 4).

You may find that some of those “facts” that you know to be true aren’t or that they don’t really mean what they appear to mean.

You may start out a Republican and turn into Democrat. Or vice versa.

Real thinking is not only hard it can also be a very disorienting, humbling, even painful experience.