democratic dialouge

Last week I went to my first “show” at the New York Theater Workshop. I put show in quotes, because it wasn’t a play, or even so much of a performance as it was a lecture. It was called Patriot Act and was comprised of Mark Crispin Miller presenting a series of points about the present state of out country, interspersed with some humorous patriotically themed magic tricks. Mark Crispin Miller has written a number of books, so he certainly doesn’t need my validation, but he is a smart fellow. I always really enjoy watching really smart people do their thing.

Sadly I don’t feel like can do justice what he said with any form of summary. If you want to read some of his stuff check out his blog, which seems to be on a thread about Electronic Voting Machines right now. That was a big point in his talk, and something I hadn’t really heard a lot about in my campus bubble of a life. So check it out.

There were quite a few things that he said that hit me hard. One of them was a thing he said toward the end about becoming involved in the democratic discussion. He made a plea to his audience to become informed and not take all their news from the big media that is pumped into our homes. He said, “go out there, listen to foreign news, take advantage of the internet!” This really struck me. I don’t claim to be the most highly informed person when it comes to current events. Over the past few weeks a lot of my news has come from fafblog. Now, I don’t claim this to be a good or bad thing, it’s just true. But it was the thing he said about become part of the dialogue that really struck me.

I did a bunch of research for a class last semester on blogging as a phenomenon. A lot of the people I talked to about it had this rant they would go on about how blogging is going to change democracy for the better because it is allowing the average person to become involved in political discourse which may not occur in other forums. I’m not entirely sure if this idea can be backed up, but I am drawn to it as a person in love with the idea of democracy yet saddened by the way it seems to work.

I suppose this entry ought to wrap up with a point. This story is mostly a round about way of getting to explain why I wanted to blog. Or at least trying to begin to explain. I’ve gotten some flak from people about giving in to the pressures of the internet world, and the fact that the internet is really just a passive aggressive tool for saying things that you wouldn’t say to people’s faces (and I know some of you think that, even if you aren’t saying to me). Well. That’s not why I do it. I want to blog because I want a space to take my stories and opinions and say “I am not afraid to share this with the world. The whole world.” I want to be engaged in democratic dialogue. Can’t do that if I don’t at least try, right?

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