Spoiler alert: The following gives some spoilers for My Mister, but not too many.

So, I just finished the Korean drama series My Mister. As the series wrapped up my attachment to the characters was very high, and I approached the final episode with the kind of anticipation and trepidation that you feel when a favorite show is about to wrap up and you’re praying for a worthy send off.

Let me say, the final episode was enormously rewarding, and I spent the rest of the night in a sort of afterglow, just reflecting on the quality of the characters…

Although cyberpunk is the best genre of sci-fi, you don’t want to live there

This is kind of a niche subject I know. But it was on my mind the other day and I feel like fleshing it out, especially since the likelihood of a dystopian government seems to be increasing day by day.

Firstly let’s define our terms: What do I mean by cyberpunk corporate dystopia?

Bladerunner 2049 — an excellent example of Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of sci-fi. If you’re familiar with stories like Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Snowcrash, Ready Player One, Akira or Alita Battle Angel, that’s Cyberpunk. A common cyberpunk motif is near-future high-tech world where corporations are super powerful and wealth disparity has become extreme. Everything is…

Because I have no self control, I was scanning Twitter last night right before bed. I came upon the above tweet by Dave Smith, a Libertarian comedian. In a knee jerk reaction I disagreed with him, thinking “We don’t want to go around being offensive! Then where would we be as a society?”

Seems simple, right?

But then I sat with it a bit longer. I realized he wasn’t saying “you should be offensive” but instead, was making two claims which upon further thought were probably correct:

“it’s not a virtue to be inoffensive” i.e. living your life without causing…

I haven’t written for BV in 6 months. Below are some intentions for what I’d like to pursue for BV in 2021.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

As I start out again, the primary beneficiary of Beyond Voting is yours truly. The main reason I’m getting back into it is to articulate my thoughts, and to do it publicly so that I’m forced to do it in a civil and productive way.

But over time, as people encounter and interact with my work, the goal becomes outwardly focused — to help make sense of this world, and this society of ours that seems to…

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Yesterday was Sunday and I spent it in Fort Greene Park with a friend. It was a proper park session: we laid on blankets in the shade, amongst the diverse Brooklyn crowd, sipping beers, eating chips, and having deep conversation. The discussion was fun, rambling, exploratory. But a few hours in, we found ourselves in a disagreement. The topic at hand was how to properly fix the political system. When you add up all of the disastrous elements that the Baby Boomers are preparing to hand us off as they go on to other pastures, the prospects for the US…


Do you ever feel like we barely talk about the real problems? Our political parties seem in charge of making sure nothing changes. Our news media generates more anxiety, confusion and division than just avoiding it all together. Our citizenry is losing trust in institutions and increasingly seeking candidates who promise extreme solutions, “draining the swamp” on the one side and nationalizing major industries on the other. And none of these trends seem to be reversing, but are instead getting worse.

Where are we heading?

After publishing some pieces for B.V. last summer I got busy with other things and…

Camilo Romero via colombiacheck.com

Earlier this year, Camilo Romero, the Governor of Nariño, Colombia published a piece on Apolitical outlining his initiative for open government and citizen engagement. Over the last few years, Romero has developed an “anti-corruption toolkit” that includes open budgets, online citizen consultations and Participatory Budgeting. It’s an ambitious project putting his community at the forefront of digital and participatory democracy. His article gives a glimpse into what it’s like to put these simple but far-reaching initiatives into action.

Romero says he wants to fight corruption and increase trust. He points to the Corruption Perceptions Index, which shows that citizens in…

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

One of the main things we explore at Beyond Voting is the growing trust deficit between people and their government. In his video “Restoring Trust in Government,” Rohit Malhotra describes how communities and government can work more closely together to rebuild that trust and improve civic culture. Drawing on his experience as director of The Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta, Malhotra lays out his ideas and experiences. They are simple, accessible, and good food for thought for beginners or those looking for inspiration. Here are three takeaways:

First, he contends that governments should create opportunities for members of institutions…

Trust Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

As we ramp up for 2020 elections, there’s an understandable sense of optimism in the air. For the past three years, the press has laid most of our societal and political ills at the feet of an unworthy leader, so it would be easy to think that many of our nation’s problems could be fixed by changing who’s in office. But I’d like to propose that the problem is more complex than simply choosing someone to replace Trump. …

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Last November, I walked into a Beyond Voting meeting at a bar in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. I had just come from my local mailbox where, as a California native, I’d mailed in my absentee ballot. Disillusioned from the experience, I complained to Tiffany that there is better technology for finding good Italian food in my neighborhood than for helping me vote on public projects worth millions of dollars. All I knew about them was what I could read on one-page descriptions and brief explainer videos that I had to search for online.

As citizens living in the digital era, we…

Matt Harder

Exploring ways to improve our democracy via technology, the media, and civics. Editor at Beyond Voting. Founder at Civictrust.us

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