In his recent In These Times editorial, "The Interactive Presidency," Joel Bleifuss recounts how Barack Obama's online supporters could be changing America's political landscape. We have met the revolution, and it is us.
No doubt about it, this is my kind of revolution. I'm an introvert, and I express myself in writing much better than in talking. I like staying home. I'm happy to rouse the rabble and viva the revolution especially when I can do it from my kitchen with my cat curled up beside me.
Bleifuss begins by asking a lot of questions about how the landscape is changing. The questions are good, because I don't think we've begun to fully realize the many ways that social networking is changing the political landscape. More people sign up for Facebook and Twitter every day, and more and more people are using those sites and others like them to find like-minded individuals and groups. Talk about the ultimate in community organizing resources!
Somewhere along the line last fall, I realized how easy Facebook made it to find more or less like-minded people. I started sending friend requests to anyone with an Obama photo as their profile pic or "Hussein" as their middle name. I was a little hesitant at first to send friend requests to strangers, but nearly everybody accepted my requests, and I didn't really care that much if they didn't. Having accumulated a modicum of allies, I found the excitement of the upcoming election all the more palpable. And there my new life as an online rabble-rouser began.
According to Bleifuss, "Obama’s 13 million supporters hope their new president will take his cues from them—that their voices will be heard above those of status quo Democrats and corporate flacks, and, perhaps, even sway Obama’s centrist inclinations." Uh, that would indeed be me. I'm doing my best to send him cues like crazy, and I'm encouraging my friends and acquaintances to do likewise.
It was discouraging that the answer to the most-asked question in Round 2 on Change.gov didn't get a more direct answer, but the more I think about Eric Holder being the people's attorney, the more I like the idea. I'm not throwing my hands up in despair just yet anyway. I'm going to keep pushing and watching what happens very carefully.
Bleifuss concludes: "The limitation of Obama’s online operation is that, since he owns it, it can’t challenge him should he backslide. Yet to the extent that it circumvents the propaganda of the right, Obama’s online army could make the difference in realizing a progressive agenda."
Well, I for one am most definitely going to challenge him should he "backslide." Obama doesn't own my corner of the Internet any more than he owns my kitchen table. I have found here a lovely little spot in cyberspace from which I can raise my voice, push like hell, laugh uproariously, and rouse the rabble until I'm virtually hoarse. And that's just what I'm going to do and keep on doing it until I run out of virtual steam, which isn't going to be any time soon.