Friday, August 11, 2006

Net Democracy

The more deregulated media gets, the worse off are the voters. Democracy in the U.S. has for long been up for sale. As ever fewer media conglomerates control ever more of the media(practically all tv, radio and print media is in the hands of 5-6 big companies in the U.S.), they gain an ever stronger hold on what the truth of the day will be. But there is a counterbalance that's gaining momentum. It seems regular Joe is starting to realize the possibilities of the net as a tool for furthering grass-root democracy(Netroots as they've been dubbed). And just the other day, one not so regular Joe, felt the effects of just one such historic showing of netroots activism.

What happened was that the unknown political newcomers Ned Lamont toppled a political old-timer in the Democratic Party Primaries for the Senate in Connecticut. Ned Lamont ran on a platform against the war in Iraq and against Senator Liebermans close ties to the President. This is a stance which landed him the support of MoveOn, who mobilized their members to make close to 80,000 calls to get out the vote for the elections.

The possibilities for the people to organize and freely assemble on the net as well as communicate and come together behind a joint cause show great hope for the democracy of tomorrow. In the U.S., the powers that be have already taken notice. Even though the motives behind the Net Neutrality Act are primarily business orientated, there is no question that such an blow to the freedom of expression on the web would also deal a great blow to the brewing net democracy. What's shocking is that these decisions are being made by a single country even though the effects will be global. The U.S. retains control of the central servers upon which the internet operates, and any policy enacted by the U.S. government concerning the internet will effect all of us surfing the web. This even before net democracy has gotten off the ground in Europe, much less the rest of the world.

On a sidenote, it seems the net, more specifically blogging, has been providing a way for frustrated Lebanese people to vent their feelings over the ongoing aggressions against their nation. Look forward to many more days of blogging by these poor souls, because Israel is only getting started, no matter what Olmert has been saying to try to appease the international community. He can't afford to go soft or end the war, not without dooming his own political future.


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