[FoRK] Money and Campaigns Re: My sentiments exactly...

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Jan 23 00:35:05 PST 2010

John Parsons wrote:
> Hello everyone, I am new to posting here, but I've been following the discourse for a while now, and feel some trepidation at attempting, never mind achieving, your standards of rhetoric... If I may respectfully submit the following:

Welcome to the FoRK'n fray!
> Further to Dr Prabhakar's and Ken's points is that we don't have direct democracy, we have representative democracy, in that the voter does not have any say (and usually no knowledge) of their representative's voting choices or legislative impact on many of the mundane, day-to-day appropriations and motions. Realistically, no voter really expects a representative to do *everything* they say (especially when so many of them are "mute" to the representative).
>  What this corporate money buys is access (that the majority of voters cannot compete with) to the successful candidate, their contacts, legislative aids, staff, etc... in short, the people who craft the legislation. Sure, special interests may have some impact, but the average voter is usually nowhere to be seen
The solution to A) voter disengagement, B) representative malfeasance, 
and C) countering, curbing, or counteracting/counterbalancing corporate 
influence seems obvious and only a couple hops out: real cyber tracking 
of issues, rationale, voting, money/poll cause and effects, etc.  We 
have some transparency now, and we'll not get full transparency to the 
whole process, however we can do far better than we have.  Concurrent 
with A) much better communication and polling about what constituents 
want and B) fully analyzed tracking of legislator actions, we must also 
have some kind of dynamic "education" of voters on the concepts, issues, 
and position rationale, complete with CBO and/or CBO-like analysis of 
hard facts and actuarials.  This system of systems will necessarily have 
some (emergent?) way of voters to argue out positions and rationale 
within some shared organizational framework.

Individual voters can't track everything, however they can be a lot more 
educated than they are with trends, new knowledge, splits within their 
own belief group, etc.  And they can express their current thinking as 
part of more or less constant polling, similar to but more advanced than 
those 'like/dislike' box knobs used during speeches.

This again brings me back to thoughts about problems with and solutions 
to information representation and interaction.  If you think about our 
current communication of legislative and judiciary knowledge, it is 
extremely fragmented, piecemeal, and more or less useless for most 
people.  Basically, everyone is keeping everything in their head in a 
privately organized way with only narrow-targeted prose to bridge the 
gap.  Still extremely primitive.
> ...
> Regardless of the outcome of any election (i.e. independent of the voters), I don't see that changing. Did I mention that I'm a cynic? :-D

Everything is in place for the dynamic to keep evolving.  The only 
question is the speed.  At an earlier point, it might have worried me 
more that corporations can participate directly.  With Internet-based 
constant social and instant communication, I'm less worried.

> [1] Free Lunch, by David Cay Johnston
> Cheers
> John Parsons

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