Why I’m staying at 18F

Over the past year, many people have asked what I’ll do after the election. It’s reasonable to assume my public service is connected to my personal politics. But I don’t see it that way.

For one, my politics have changed quite a bit after serving in the federal government for 6 years. They haven’t shifted across the simple “left-right” spectrum that does the complexity of our country such a disservice.

Instead, while my expectation of what government both can and should do is much more conservative than before, I’ve never been more optimistic that for those things we can do, we can build services that are effective, efficient, open, humane, participatory, and even delightful, at costs lower than ever before.

Politicians may (and will) disagree passionately on what government should do. But they all say that for whatever the government does, we should do it well.

My oath to this country was not to a particular office, or person, and certainly not to a political party. It was to the Constitution and to the people (emphasis added)

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…

That’s why I believe that no matter the result of the presidential election, I have to stay. People have to see that the work 18F, the United States Digital Service, and so many other people who have recently signed up for public service, continues. That’s notwithstanding the huge numbers of public servants who have been laboring to do the right thing all along, and have not been given the tools they need to succeed and serve.

This movement is not bound to the current administration. It is not an ideological movement meant to serve a particular President’s agenda, or even a particular Congress’ agenda.

This isn’t just about technology. It’s about whether any of the systems that govern our society can be made to work, or deserve our trust.

Let’s find out.

[Views above are exclusively my own]