“… for voters of all stripes, Tuesday’s primaries should illuminate the growling face of a new fringe in American politics — and provide the incentive for level-headed voters to become enthusiastic about the midterm election.” [Link]
We always said that the Internet would bring more voices into the political conversation, that we would be “more democratic,” as though that was a good thing. But what if it’s not? What if more voices means more noise? What if it means more opportunities to give volume to lizard-brain thinking, and appeal to emotional rather than practical/intellectual levels of thinking?
Hopefully in November we’ll be voting from the cerebrum, making rational rather than emotional choices… turn out the “level-headed voters” mentioned above.
This is odd – e-democracy.org’s 125-member United States issues forum, is described as “a civil, more deliberative discussion of national public policy issues and politics in the United States among people with diverse political perspectives.” I joined, and was having an interesting and potentially productive discussion with an intelligent, seemingly reasonable Tea Party conservative. However my last post in that discussion was blocked – the list limits members to one post per twelve hours. “We limit the number of posts any one person can send within a set time frame to increase the number of voices heard and keep overall e-mail volume in check. Please try posting again later.” The implication is interesting: democracy is not about enabling discussions, but restricting them. From their perspective, I suppose the idea is that an unrestricted list will be dominated by a few voices. Savvy online communitarians know that every forum will have a few vocal members, though, and many more observers who rarely if ever speak.
A restriction like this just seems tone deaf to me, especially on a list that espouses deliberative discussion. The restriction leaves the list inherently stilted.