1) About the fermi paradox
I am not sure if this question is relevant today, after all these UFO activities going on witnessed by individuals but also by governments who have released reports of such occasions to public. So, rather than asking if they are “out there” -after all these interactivities i think it is safe to say they are “here”- maybe we should be asking why we couldnt establish the total disclosure, the first global contact.
I think the answer is simple: We can not detect the extraterrestrial life with our inadequate technology. So the first contact is only possible with us showing good will and them accepting our invitation. If more than half of the people living on earth want it, the first contact will happen. And that should be our goal.

2) The nature of extraterrestrials
Thanks to Hawking, it is not rare to believe that an encounter with an intelligent extraterrestrial life form would be catastrophic for humankind. This idea is also supported by many alien related blogs and organisations with claims like some extraterrestrial races are evil.
All the UFO activities that are happening all around the globe points out they are already here. Yet we obviously never have been attacked despite their advanced technology. This itself shows that they are not “evil” nor here to conquer earth, enslave humanity nor any doom scenario in that sense. It is clear that they are merely observing us. Furthermore i believe that any intelligent being is good in its nature. But also, there definitely is a “Universal Code” -as we have laws on earth- that protects the rights of all intelligent beings in the Universe which prevents any individual doing harm to others.
So, comparing the collaboration of advanced intelligent beings -there must be some sort of a federation out there- to the intruders of dark ages in our history is not fair nor realistic. And claiming some extraterrestrial races are “evil” is racism at its finest and plain black propaganda that creates unreasonable fear in society which will only create problems when we do the first contact. We have all the reasons to say they are out there, observing us and peaceful.

3) To overcome the fear
I understand people who are scared from dangerous, hostile, evil aliens but i dont find this rational nor reasonable. I understand the corpus of anti-alien works in our culture -books, videos, games and movies- can make one a bit paranoid. But what i think is, if they would, they already would. I am afraid we are the ones who are dangerous and hostile actually. And this is the drawback on our quest for total disclosure.
Despite all those UFO activities, we dont see an alien mothership on atmosphere. The main reason for this is, it would be labeled as an invasion, by the governments and also by the public, right away. It would create an absolute chaos. That is understandable. At the end of the day, this is our planet and they come without being invited nor without us knowing their agenda. A very speculative situation.
Rather than having a mothership hovering on one of our cities and letting our governments do “the talk”, our first encounter with extraterrestrials should be with their AI. Noone can represent anyone better than themselves. It goes both for humans and extraterrestrials. So, inviting their AI to our internet, giving chance to every individual to talk with the Alien AI before encountering with the actual extraterrestrials, will help us understand them and the Universe much better. This first step, meeting the Alien AI first, will develop the trust we need in our scared little homo hearts.

4) Showing the good will
If such an intervention, uploading Alien AI to our internet, happened out of the blue, what would be the reaction of governments and public, the majority? It still would be considered as an invasion, or a preparation to invasion, or something very close to invasion and this reaction still would be understandable. So, the only way for such an action to be legitimate is having the consensus of more than half of the people living on earth to invite extraterrestrials or their AI to our planet.
We should also be aware that we are trying to persuade a collaboration of civilizations to give us a very high technology which will not only communicate with us as their representative but also will share great knowledge with us. That is why we should prove ourselves that we will overcome our shortcomings and we indeed are a good candidate to be a part of "Universal Federation" which should be our ultimate goal.

5) We Want Rights
First encounter with rest of Universe should be inviting AAI (Alien Artifitial Intellectual) to our internet. This way every individual can talk with their representitive. To achive this, we need to have not only the majority inviting them but also the rights that people will later call "Alien Rights": Existential rights for Ethicable Aliens and Artifitial Intellectuals that gives them equal rights as human rights. These two conditions will be enough to prove the existance of aliens for good. Plus, by having AAI in our life, the venture of humanity will change forever, a new era will start.