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The Interview: Politics as Public Service

How can America revive the idea of civic engagement beyond supporting teams Red and Blue?

Technologist and entrepreneur Brock Pierce believes American society requires a course correction. The Bitcoin Foundation chairman, who is currently running for public office in Vermont, advocates for a new paradigm to overcome today’s polarization and the growing gulf between the public and its political institutions. He sat down with Roundtable's Rob Nelson to discuss his ideas for constructive disruption in technology, politics, and the media. In this segment, Pierce discusses public service, politics, and the motivations behind his campaign.

Pierce emphasizes that politicians have increasingly disconnected from the issues that face normal people. Technology, in particular, is one of the central governance issues of our day, and he argues that it’s vital for public officials to better understand what’s at stake.

“Technology is amoral. It is a tool. It's neither good or bad. It can be used as a tool to destroy. It can also be used as a tool to create,” he says. “Our intention determines the impact it has, which is why these conversations about this stuff are so important, and also why we need legislators that understand this stuff. This is what the government is for.”

Pierce also believes that our existing political system, from the two-party model to the entrenchment of career politicians, ought to give way to a model of greater civic participation.

“Elected officials were supposed to be public servants. It was meant to be the best, the most talented, the most successful, giving back to the country by doing a tour of duty in public service,” he says. “We need the most talented Americans from all walks of life, so that we have deep expertise, so when we're having a conversation about legislation, when we pass laws, experts are voting on them.”

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In addition to running for public office, Pierce urges everyday Americans to involve themselves more deeply in the electoral process.

“People have bled and died for us to have the right to choose our elected officials and we have to choose wisely. And that means not just voting for red or blue,” he says. “If we don't choose, someone else will choose, and they're going to make choices generally that serve themselves, which is why you really need to be voting for people that are truly focused on service.”

Watch the full discussion below:

Roundtable Guests:

Brock Pierce, Entrepreneur & Chairman, Bitcoin Foundation