Introducing Operation Transbearency: Follow the Honey

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If you follow Sunlight in any capacity, you may have noticed a seemingly innocuous typo slip into our writing of late, a little something called “transbearency.” Today, I am proud to announce that “transbearency” is no accident. It’s a movement.

Allow me to explain…as best I can. It started when the folks at Sunlight heard that the infamous faux-pundit Stephen Colbert decided to take his message of Politics As Usual to Washington, DC on October 30th. His mission? A march to Keep Fear Alive. Colbert claimed that such a march was a necessity:

There are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear [and] they want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.

Maybe we were being sensitive, but this call to action offended us. Reasonable solutions to unreasonable problems in government mark the foundation of the transparency movement. Reason is the…reason that Sunlight builds technology platforms and advocates for policies that make our elected representatives accountable to the folks who elected them.

Rather than feed into his fear-mongering, Sunlight decided it was time to stand up to Colbert by hitting him where it hurts: his fear of bears.


Stephen Colbert is terrified of bears and all their hairy complexity, and we want to send a powerful message his way. So, if you believe that there is nothing to fear about a more accountable government, then I ask you to join Operation Transbearency for the month of October. A few ways you can take part:

  • Be a bear online: Change your avatar(s) (like we did) to a bear to show your inner watchbeardog.
  • Spread the honey: When you see something delicious, like stories about open data, lobbying reform and campaign ethics, tell your friends and make sure to post about it with a tag for #transbearency (or #opengov) so that your fellow bears can find it.
  • Bear with us: Text BEAR to 224866 (“ACTION”) if you’re planning on attending the rally in Washington, DC on October 30th to get info on how to meet up with us (and directions to our post-rally happy hour).
  • Really brave? Show up to the rally dressed as a bear. Seriously. The Colbert/Stewart folks have already asked that ralliers come in costume — it will be Halloween, after all — we’re just asking that you choose a costume that will make a difference. I promise you, we’ll be out there in full bear regalia with special swag and surprises for anyone ferocious enough to stand in solidarity.
  • You may think this is silly, but bears are not silly. They are serious, and so are we. We hope you’ll join us on the 30th.

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  • The Association of People Against Internet Crazies

    I will never cease to be amused how every corner of the WWW attracts crazies in the comments.

    Yes, trying to hook people in by trying to get mainstream exposure off of, for better or for worse, two of the more major cultural generators from an audience largely cynical and disinterested in politics is clearly a horrible idea because… BAH GAWD THERE ARE PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS OUT THERE!

    If you’re truly concerned about fascism (although I’d be more concerned that disagreeing with someone makes them fascist and evil) maybe you should take the Mel Brooks route and figure out how to make people laugh at them and their cause. Worked with Superman and the KKK, too.

    I’m glad that you apparently don’t have a job, because I’d be ashamed to think that you might be someone in power, holding back progress.

    Is it an office joke? Maybe, but I don’t work in their office, so I wouldn’t really be able to make that judgement.

  • Anonymous

    I would agree that #transbearency is hard to distinguish from an office joke.

  • Toyotabedzrock

    Your message is counterproductive and prevents the problems facing us from being addressed.

    Everyone should be scared. The Tea Party is threatening many people online. They are being lead by racists, and fascists.

    Your goals are admirable, but you talk as if you are in a bubble isolated from the reality and hardship being endured by millions. It creates a roadblock to progress.

    While you may have a job, many do not, and ultimately your ideas amount to self protectionism. You want everyone to be calm because you are employed and want to prevent anything that might disrupt it.

    I want to point out that the people who do not want to be transparent might win if everyone is complacent about the current situation America faces.