Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Liberals Finding Their Voice in Blogs

It seems there's a rule out there that says it's impossible to please all the people all the time. I have to admit one of my character flaws is thinking that from time to time I can break that rule. I'm a liberal Democrat but given the extraordinary problems presented by Bush's presidency, I find myself reaching out to moderates and rational conservatives who are increasingly uneasy about Bush because I believe it is critical to do so.

Although I'm a liberal, I'm also a pragmatist and I know it's a simple fact that liberals, by themselves, cannot hold Bush accountable and check his abuse of office. I also know that many professionals in government are conservative and if not for them, there's a lot about Bush's transgressions we would not know.

But I also don't want to lose sight of some new and interesting voices out there that are liberal who are talking not just about how liberals can regain their voices but how ordinary people across America can also regain their voices regardless of what their politics are. The (liberal) Girl Next Door talks about some of this and may be an interesting voice herself even if sometimes she gets a little too caught up with what she's saying (it's easy for honest passion to do that to people; I know, I've done it myself). Here's one recent paragraph that caught my attention:
If sunlight is the best disinfectant, we can only assume that the Bush White House is one dirty place. They continually promote the idea that if citizens don’t have anything to hide, they shouldn’t be concerned with NSA, Pentagon or FBI spying and infringements on our right to privacy, but what about them? The more they hide, the more we question their motives for doing so. Transparency in government is as essential to democracy as the freedoms laid out in the Bill of Rights. When we are asked to give up those things, we are being asked to give up on our democracy. What does it say about us that we are even willing to consider surrendering any of them?
In another post, The (liberal) Girl Next Door writes about the marketplace of ideas:
The need for leaders to carry the message of liberals in this country has reached its pinnacle, but who those leaders will be is yet to be determined. There is a democracy of ideas that is growing on the net, with so many lefty bloggers putting out new ideas and the readers of the blogs who give right back. It is a marketplace that is growing every day and the products being sold are hope, ideas and an opportunity to have your opinion heard. It can’t be long before some smart upstart is able to capitalize on the vitality and passion that is ripe for the picking and free to whomever chooses to harvest the best ideas and whittle them down into a cohesive platform with populist appeal.
(snip)
Politics is not merely a numbers game. While it is important to know the numbers and to know where the best chances of winning are, it is more important to appeal to the voters in every district of this country. Calculating exactly what position they should take on any given issue based on the number of votes gained by that position is hallow politics plain and simple. Inside the beltway politicians, lobbyists, staffers and the reporters who cover them for the mainstream media may be getting bent out of shape by liberal bloggers who are changing the rules of the game, but they better adapt to the new political landscape or risk being left behind.

Lefty bloggers are making elections more about the process and the people and less about the strategy that has been traditionally hatched by the party elite. Where the message of candidates used to be tightly controlled and beltway reporters were the only avenue for getting the message out, the lefty bloggers have changed the face of politics and it is beginning to resemble democracy again. When individual bloggers can promote primary candidates that would, in the past, have been easily relegated to nearly anonymous status, the voters have more information at their fingertips and this tips the balance away from the traditional power holders. Easy to see why there’s so much resistance to the new political system but hard to see how this is bad for the Party or bad for democracy.
A true marketplace of ideas is something that is under threat in America whether it's science, business, art, philosophy or politics; it's forgotten that respect for a marketplace of ideas is what led to many of America's great ideas, discoveries, inventions and even economic vitality. It's never been an ideal system but liberalism and the Bill of Rights came out of that marketplace as well. As flawed as our history has sometimes been, America has given a lot of great ideas to the world. A written constitution was one of those ideas.

I didn't agree with a lot of the politics of the first President Bush, but I agree with many people that he was considerably more competent and mindful of the law than the current President Bush. And yet, let me mention one small story. I remember years ago reading a small article in the back pages of a newspaper about an interview the senior George Bush gave to a magazine with a small circulation. When the senior Bush admitted that he tended to stretch the truth in a nationally televised debate, he said he was perfectly comfortable telling the magazine that information since the magazine only had a circulation of 50,000 and hardly anyone was going to read what he said in the interview. He said when talking to a large audience of millions, the goal was not to tell the exact truth, but to win. His campaign manager was Lee Atwater who perfected that advice; two of his pupils were Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

But the Internet may be changing the rules of the game. Hopefully, the Internet will survive. If it does, perhaps our democracy will survive.

1 Comments:

Blogger BibleMan said...

The Republican mantra for the next couple of elections will be that the Democratic Party has no new ideas, no policies to champion and that all they want is to oppose the Bush policies. That should be good enough to elect any Democratic candidate in my book. However, the rest of the American people might be fooled by this clever, although deceitful, strategy.

So, in order to assure ourseles more seats in Congress and possibly even the White House in '08, I am calling on all Democrats to support the idea of something so revolutionary, so unique in American Politics, so unusual, it will take a few days for it to sink in. I want the Democratic Party to make a call for, of all things, Democracy in America. That could be the rallying call that makes it all happen for the Democratic Party and which could save the planet.

What am I talking about? Why can't we put some of the most pressing issues on the National Ballot every couple years for the people to resolve by themselves, free of the selfish interests of the PACS and the Lobbyists. Why can't we, in a so-called democratic society, vote directly in National Referenda? Why haven't we thought of this before?

The only reason we don't have this most democratic of all institutions in this nation is due to the censorship on this issue of BOTH parties. Neither the Democratic or the Republican Party wants to give up their monopoly of ideas and methods of solving problems. They don't want to give up this power because it makes the rich and famous. It gives them more power over us than was ever intended by the founding fathers. The US Constitution mentions political parties, absolutely ZERO times. Our great Constitution mentions the power of the people to vote, the rights of the people, the need for the people to augment their most basic form of democracy twenty seven times.

If the Democratic Party truly wants to serve their constituents, they should want to give us more democracy, more freedom, more power, more participation in the process, not less. The only way to do this for the masses of voters is to allow us to vote on issues directly on the ballot.

Let me give you just one example for this blog. On my website, I give dozens more. If we had the power to put National Initiatives on the Ballot, I would vote for one that would give a 50% Tax Credit to anyone buying a hybrid car or any car that achieved over forty miles to the gallon. This would be the most patriotic law that we could ever pass right now because it would force American Auto makers to make better cars to compete with Honda and Toyota who for years have been producing and selling Electric and Gasoline, or Hybrid Cars. It would reduce our nation's dependence on Foreign Oil. It would help to save the environment. It would slow the overall pollution of the planet which is causing cancer in unprecedented numbers. It would save the buyer, thousands of dollars over the years of his ownership and teach us all how to be more responsible stewards of this beautiful planet.

There is no reason why anyone should decide to vote against such a law, unless you happen to be an Oil Man, like President Bush. I'm sure this would not get his vote. But, worse than this, the President and both political parties have never suggested such a simple and effective way out of one of our worst national crises in decades and if I can think this up, so can they. So, you have to accept this example, and there are countless others, as proof that neither party wants to allow such a simple common sense approach to problem solving and law making to become widely known.

We should also have a National Health Care system of some sort, years ago. But, they keep fighting over petty differences, and so, we have none. We should have a much better transportation system in this country like France and Germany and Japan and England where you can get on a train and be whisked to another part of the country in comfort and speed. But, instead they spend too much money on wars and preparation for war for the people to get any of these goodies. We should have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. It's the biggest failure in history that so many of us think that bottled water is the only water to drink. But, instead of giving us clean air and water, the find a myriad of lesser problems to argue about, such as raising their own salaries and retirement plans each year so that the major problems effecting the American people are lost between the cracks.

We used to have the greatest and strongest economy in the world, but they have let in so many desperate starving people into this country that wages have fallen to historic lows and homelessness is rampant. Instead of preventing this invasion of our nation, they allow it to happen and let the good jobs go to China and Russia and Malaysia. Why? Because Wal-Mart has more friends in Congress than you and I, my fellow Americans. And if you think I'm crazy, just look at the label of any garment you have bought lately. None of them will be Made in the USA.

Most important of all, why are we spending trillions of US dollars to put a democracy into a God-forsaken hell hole like Iraq? These people are not ready for Democracy. They want to sit and bow to a bearded fakir who tells them to read a book written by a lunatic 800 years ago and which states that a woman is like a cow or a sheep. How could someone like that ever be ready for Democracy? BUT, this is now what your tax dollars are going to. The money is literally falling out of trucks all over Baghdad in hopes of bribing these people to like us. They will never like us. They will live in this stupor for centuries. Are we supposed to suppor them with our entire economy on the line waiting for them to get a clue? I for one, am not willing to be screwed like this because one guy who got a "C" average in college tells us this is a good idea. Why don't we put this kind of no-good, bozo thinking on the ballot and let the people who pay the bills have some say about where to spend our money. THAT WOULD BE DEMOCRACY, not this patch work of bribes, they call a democracy. It's a diabolical insult to all right-minded patriotic Americans to tell us that this is a democracy when Verizon and AT&T, Exxon and Wal-Mart are actually behind the scenes making our laws. AND We The People are never given a chance to create real solutions and vote on them using the technology that was designed for such a wonderful thing.

NO, a thousand times NO! I'd rather be dead than live in a country ruled by morons who are bleeding us dry. But, thanks to God Almighty I don't have to die for my rights to be upheld. All I have to do is convince enough of you that Voting on the Internet is an idea whose time has come. Let's put some of these issues on the NATIONAL BALLOT. Let's show BUSH that he can't kill this great nation so easily. Let's show both parties that they have a citizenry who is NOT going to sit and around and take their tyranny, their lack of ideas any more!

Democrats, let's unite around the word, DEMOCRACY. We need MORE not less. We need it NOW, not later! I implore you to send this to a friend and get them to send it to their friends. Before it's too late, we must have a real democracy in America. Voting on the Internet is the way to do it. And, we can start VOTING on the INTERNET right now. www.votingontheinternet.com Cast your vote. Support this great cause. If enough Democrats and even Republicans who still love this country will support us, we can do it and we can have REAL DEMOCRACY NOW.

10:27 AM  

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