What is it we're trying to make possible?

I thought this Open House Project article might be of interest. Basically the author, John Wonderlich, is trying to start a discussion to refine what the netroots is really after. What is necessary for "perfect participation" (to quote Cesar Chavez) in Government?

Here are some of his questions and the link to the article:

  • I'd like to know more about what you all are working toward; what are we enabling?
  • Do you want everyone to understand the monetary cost of new legislation?
  • Give citizens and legislators a forum to grapple over pending legislation?
  • Connect news and blog posts with bills as they work through Congress?
  • Illuminate the connection between money and politics?

full article: http://groups.google.com/group/openhouseproject/browse_thread/thread/73fafa3ab4d4ea46


All the Above

Except the enabling part.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

I agree.

I'm for emphasizing the "we" in powerful:

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The first time I read A.J. Langguth's Patriots, I was impressed with how much of the American Revolution - before it actually started - depended on printers, booksellers, and pamphleteers. (I was running a bookstore at the time, so I felt an affinity of sorts!) In later generations, brave journalists have been the ones to sound the clarion call to protect the citizens of the United States from those who would usurp our freedoms, alert us to those who would deceive us, and prevent them from leading us in directions in which we would not wish to go.

Over the last 15 years we've seen an unprecedented commercialization of the press, which has clouded the vision of those journalists. It's understandable, I suppose - they have to feed their families, after all. We all know how hard it is to put food on your families. :)

Enter the internets. Never before in our history have we had the opportunity to so directly speak truth to power. And never before in our history has power had the opportunity to actually find out what their constiuents think about issues - not just proposed legislation, but emerging issues that will demand legislation before the legislation is written. Citizen journalists - like those that give us such delight and aggida here at bluenc - are like the pamphleteers of the 18th century. This is not their livelyhood, they don't live in fear of losing their jobs because of what they write about. And let's not forget - the generation that comes after us - the ones graduating from high school over the next five years and beyond - have grown up with the internet and are comfortable using it, even if they don't have a computer in their home. If we are to grow as a nation, we must have true public internet access. We will all benefit - not from increased traffic at MySpace, but from the increased, lightening speed public discourse.

And let's not

The Den
It's your democracy; use it.


are not often started by those who govern.

Sam Adams is in small part responsible for our Revolution, and yet they wouldnt even let him into the Constitutional Convention.

Some people throw bombs, some build houses.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

Not sure what you're saying, Blue

Are you saying it's in the government's best interest to keep us silent?

Perhaps it's in the current administration's best interest. But I believe that there are specific elected officials who would relish the opportunity to have more feedback and input from their constituents. And we need more elected officials like them.
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

yeah that didnt come out very well

im just saying that being on the outside allows us to raise havoc in ways that others cant. Of course we should be involved and informed and all of that.

Im still very much on the war path about things, especially with what the Senate has been doing and what Congress did with Iraq. I think that our outsider ability gives us the ability to know what is going on, and to applaud or yell based upon the merits of the bill, and not upon the party of the bill's sponsors.

We have an opportunity to act as the conscience of the party if we want.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

Ah, that makes sense.

I spent a lot of years on the outside of the party - I was always a registered Democrat, but it wasn't until 2000 when I had time to become actively involved in anything beyond occasionally writing a letter or "throwing rocks from the outside." What I like about being a Democrat is that I feel like I can still toss a rock or two (disagree with the higher ups), hold an office in the local party, and work like hell to put more big D dems in office.

And I think we're way off the track of the thread that Jerimee wanted. Sorry, Jerimee.
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

That's a fascinating post

you linked to, Jerimee, at the Open House Project.

This quote caught my eye:

There are two conversations going on. One inside the party. One with the constituency . . . In most cases, neither conversation is going very well. Almost invariably, the cause of failure can be traced to obsolete notions of command and control.

I see that in quite a few places. People not realizing that a fundamental shift is happening. The old way just isn't working any more. So , they cling even more strongly to their "obsolete notions of command and control."

Great stuff. Thanks.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Command and Control

Command and control works very well in the military.

With the citizenry - are you kidding me? Control?

You wanna control the American citizens? On either side of the aisle you will have revolt.

(Okay - some people will really hate giving up their Starbucks and SUV's - you can control them. You have permission from the rest of us)

A few things:

think this is a conversation that should happen on this list.

I don't. We have a better format.

the difference between ->

between "careerist" legislators and citizen legislators he
sees as instrumental to healthy democracy

I have no problem with both. Sometimes people get tired and want to go on to other things. Some people are really good at this and they give it everything they've got. If they're good - we should keep them.

I agree with this:

By contrast, citizen legislators thrive on the power of principle and
the liberating independence that comes with being outsiders. Their power
stems from their cultivation of information to the widest possible
audience and the accountability that comes with such transparency.

This is true. When you say it out loud on the tubes, everyone sees it. Almost in real time. (It is in real time but they have to be there to see it)

I like the way this sounds:

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

Hyperlinks prevent tyranny.

As always, YMMV


We did get off topic.

I think the purpose of blogs are to get rid of insiders, or more properly, to make everyone who wants to be one an insider. Polling data available at the snap of your fingers. Rumors and punditry abounds. Everyone has a voice. Votes are known about before hand. Lobbying is done by real people in the open instead of shady halls (or bathroom stalls).

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

I Don't Want to Be Inside

It's more fun out here.

All I want is to know what's going on and have someone listen to me once in a while.

I don't know everything but that's because I'm not dead yet.
(really - I'm a generalist. I know something about most everything but I'm not an 'expert' on anything.)

Works for me. Can't think outside the box if you're in it.

THere are always going to be

deals made behind closed doors, by private email or over the phone. No getting around that. But recording meetings, keeping to the spirit of the sunshine laws, somehow making it unacceptable for elected officials not to have public question and answer sessions would be a start. So many elected officials won't speak to the press, much less the public. It's ridiculous. I know we can't force them to legally but can't we shame them into it?
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

shaming them into it

Shaming them into it is kind of a neat idea. Right now we expect our leaders to have these closed door meetings, and are unable to act really shocked when that happens. If we could create a culture where it is expected that elected leaders respond to the media, and communicate directly with voters, and are embarrassed by their secret meetings, a lot of nonsense would be avoided. How would you create this culture? How do you make it into a public expectation? What sort of justifications for closed door politics would elected officials put forward, and how will we respond to them?

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

What I meant

was that the people in power need to be able to see what's going on "outside" and be in touch with the folks on the ground, as much as those of us "on the ground" need to be able to understand the pressures exerted on our elected officials. I think a good example of someone who has mastered this balance is Rep. Brad Miller. The reason he remains ahead of the curve is that he watches the folks who are making the curve.

To be informed and to inform,

are the hallmarks of a great society. It's only a good idea if it can stand up under close and objective scrutiny, and the same applies to elected officials who have been granted stewardship of the resources and liberties of their constituents.

There will always be those who seek to benefit from the sacrifices of others, and they will naturally gravitate to the halls of power to prey upon the weaknesses of the leaders of the time. Transparency makes their efforts much more difficult, and they will fight it at every turn.

Sorry about the grandiose delivery. I get like that sometimes. :)

No, sc - that was great

It sounded like some famous guy said it.

Are you a famous guy?
Not yet?
maybe soon.

Yeah, sc

Your comment was wonderful.
News of the 10th district: See Pat Go Bye Bye,

Jerimee, how about

requiring that every meeting, from two people all the way up to a full session, be voice-recorded and digitally transferred to written word, then posted on a public-access website, searchable by date/time, Committee title, subjects discussed, or even keywords?


p.s. I also want a dirt bike for Christmas.

Hee hee.....

I think you're more likely to get a dirt bike, sc.