I disconnected myself from the internet all weekend, and now, Sunday night, am checking political news. Luckily, the first thing I stumbled across is a man dressed as a wizard on C-SPAN making an argument about why he should be president. This I believe is all I need to learn on the urgent matter of the republican primary coming up on Tuesday in New Hampshire.
He embodies the absurdity of the political circus. And even though he is essentially a joke candidate, I can’t help but imagine that he is not so different from the destructive dictators that have gained power all over the world throughout the past century.
I closed Google News after watching the above short clip and was content to resume reading academic papers where there are no clowns in giant hats and the game is played with a slightly more honorable intention.
Main point: Representative democracy will be drastically improved by technology, but not yet.
When I get a moment to breath from programming and work, I’ve been reading a lot of critical military history and yet I’ve been writing about shallow political bickering. It’s just easy to write about, and get dragged into. I’m not proud of it, and frankly I’m getting a bit tired of politics. I think you can’t learn about economics by watching the stock market ticker and you can’t learn about government by watching the day to day fighting in electoral politics.
Anyway, I’ve come across Americans Elect recently. They’re an organization that’s trying to make elections a “Web 2.0″ experience. Basically, you go online, you define what you believe on the various issues through an intuitive interface and you can follow candidates that closely match your beliefs. I’m sure there are special interests behind the creation of the site, and they have some sneaky plans, but the fact that they’ve created a natural voting experience is undeniable.
The idea behind the site is that you actually “vote” for a candidate that will be put on an actual “nonpartisan” ticket to go against the democratic, republican, and independent party nominees.
Beyond that, however, it’s just a nice educational experience. Most people, frankly, don’t know what they believe on many important issues of the day. You might be against free trade, but do you know why? Do you know arguments for and against it? Do you know the history of trade policies in the last 20 years? The site helps with that. So, if there’s an issue you care about, at least you’ll be forced to think about it some more, and find a candidate that actually matches what you believe is good for this country.