June 11, 2008

For Chicago - And Democracy!

Well, everyone, I have some news for you...yes, I know I've been I've been away for awhile, Blogger's post scheduling feature notwithstanding. However, I wanted to chime in with some news.

The first is - I have employment. It's contract/freelance work, and I can't really discuss it in detail due to confidentiality concerns. I can say it's in the for-profit world...involves social media...and is pretty much the kind of thing you would expect that I would be doing.

But that's not why I'm writing this entry - there's an effort underway in Chicago that I strongly believe in, and would like to talk about that for a moment.

(Warning: Chicago exclusive content to follow. You are more than welcome to read, but if it bores you, please feel free to click on over to this video. I have a feeling Mike Sterling and the Coffee Junkee will both enjoy it).

If you had told me six months ago that Barack Obama and John McCain would be the front-runners for the Presidency, I probably would not have believed you. It wasn't that I was cynical about the race - just that, since no incumbent or current vice-president was running, it was pretty much an open field.

However, one thing that has really warmed this policy wonk's heart is how so many Americans now feel reengaged in the political system...of feeling as if, maybe this once, the system can - and does - work. Especially in light of recent news here in Chicago, maybe there's a great opportunity to mobilize people on local issues, gradually empowering them to make a difference and truly "think globally, act locally".

I am glad to serve on the steering committee and openly support developing an eDemocracy forum for the metropolitan Chicagoland area. I firmly believe that our country was based on two key ideals:
  1. The free, civil exchange of ideas from various ideologies, no matter how different or disparate, is healthy to our democracy; and
  2. Individuals have the right - and the responsibility - to listen to various viewpoints, no matter how different than their own, and make up their own mind about matters.
Several of the more cynical of you will claim that, in our current media culture, that is impossible, that often debate turns into a shouting match...and you do have a point. Working to build consensus - and to engaging the community - takes time, effort, and civility. EDemocracy is not about bully tactics; it's about using the Internet as a tool, pulling together sources in order to take local action.

So if you live in the Chicago area, please feel free to join - you can access messages on the forum either via RSS feeds or e-mail. If you do not live in Chicago, please feel free to check out the main eDemocracy site to see if it exists in your location. (Also, please feel free to click on the green ShareThis icon below to either e-mail this article to someone you think may be interested, and/or distribute via social networks like Facebook)

(If you're a Linked In contact with whom I touched based with before, I'll be e-mailing you individually this weekend)

If not, please remember this simple statement, especially when you think that "Somebody should do something"

You are somebody.

And you can do something.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Damn optimist.

Actually, good for you, Gordon.