Friday, April 13

Making Stuff Up: The Six Word Stump

While many people wonder about the power of words, sometimes questioning the importance in their ability to turn ideas into action, many presidential hopefuls knew better. It's not uncommon for them to include concise, memorable six-word phrases during stump speeches delivered on the campaign trail.

"Federal government is overgrown and overweight." – Ronald Reagan

The National Constitution Center is planning to expand upon the concept of a six-word stump speech phrase by asking Americans to create their own — six words that would adequately convey the direction that people want to take America. The contest, Address America: Your Six-Word Stump Speech, will begin on April 24.

Entries may be submitted during the center's Primary Palooza Party as it unveils new exhibits and programs on the same day five states will hold primaries, or online at Address America, presented in partnership with Smith Magazine, which hosts the Six-Word Memoir project.

"Restore America to its own people." – Franklin D. Roosevelt 

"The Address America initiative is a unique and accessible way for people across the country to engage in the pivotal 2012 election," said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. "We hope visitors of all ages will join us to share in the excitement and make their voices heard through a six-word stump speech."

The event in not affiliated with any party. Admission to the Philadelphia event is free with the favor of a reservation (call 215.409.6700) and includes access to the Center's main exhibition: The Story of We the People, and the award-winning theatrical production Freedom Rising. The center will also enable participants to experience From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen for a special rate of $5. The Address America micro site will go live on April 24.

Why participate in Address America: Your Six-Word Stump Speech?

The National Constitution Center will be testing its new iPad touch screens, which enable museum visitors to submit their phrases and see them projected on displays in the Center's main exhibition. The online submissions will also be displayed in dynamic charts, maps, and word clouds that reveal information about election priorities across geography and party affiliation.

With enough participants, the National Constitution Center hopes to capture the sentiment of Americans using socially-engaged technology. It also challenges participants to write concise, well-thought out, and meaning messages that convey their ideas.

The center has other plans related to the Address America project, including giving participants the opportunity to "remix" their submissions and the submissions of others. Along with the interactive program, there will be objective information about election issues, the candidates, and the U.S. Constitution.

Some other upcoming plans include turning Address America into a road show, with stops in Tampa Bay, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Appearances will also be made in the four cities hosting presidential and vice presidential candidate debates.

In all locations, participants will be asked to share their six-word stump speeches on video, to be featured on the Center's website, social media channels, and Constitution Daily blog. Following the election on Nov. 6, 2012, the Center will continue to engage audiences by inviting six-word submissions of what Americans hope to hear expressed on inauguration day 2013.

It's a clever idea that encourages everyone to express views and opinions in a real-time setting. I also like it because it encourages people to think and write, carefully crafting words to make a statement.
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