Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Twitter In Politics—The Few Become More Removed From The Many

The following  article about politicians using Twitter was in the May 4 Miami Herald— ( Above–Miami.) 

“Last week, Alec Rosen declared his candidacy for city commissioner in South Miami — via Twitter. It’s a first for Miami politics, he says. ”It allows us to communicate directly with people who find something in value in what it is you have to say — in 140 characters or less,” Rosen says. He’ll compete for the seat against Rene Guim, who also plans to tweet during his campaign. Miami Beach public information officer Nannette Rodriguez tweets, too. So does Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, under the name IRL. Following their every tweet are a host of community activists in Palmetto Bay, Coconut Grove, Doral and elsewhere with fast fingers on Blackberrys, iPhones and laptops. They’ve all mastered the art of the 140-character missive — the limitation of Twitter messages. … that it’s better to reach 500 people who want to receive your message than sending to 50,000 people who don’t care,” Rodriguez says. That quote, by the way, would be too long by 10 characters or so in tweetspeak.” ( Please click here for the full article.)

My theory about Twitter is that it takes people who would have been part of an educated and aware elite at any point regardless of the technology of the day, and makes them even more remote from day-to-day life.

This article did not change my view.  It seems that Twitter has people “in the know” sending an endless loop of  messages to each other. This very notion of insiders talking to insiders is a selling point of Twitter. At least to the extent you can say that something that’s free has a selling point.

Many people don’t have iphones, Blackberrys or laptops. Many don’t have the time to send Twitter messages or may feel they would not be able to express themselves very well on Twitter. 

The Miami Beach Public Information officer mentioned in the story says it is better to reach the few people who care rather than a larger number of people who don’t care. But how can she know who cares and who does not?  I’m certain that many people in Miami Beach care about their community and at the same time have not signed up with Twitter.

Life is fragmented enough as it is and political power is concentrated enough already. We should be looking for ways to reach out  and explain what we are doing. Instead, with Twitter we are limit ourselves to a relatively small community of people under the absurd constraint of only 140 characters per message.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Senator Durbin Says Banks “Own” The Senate

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin said the following recently on a Chicago radio station about the power of banks in the U.S. Senate—

“And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”

Senator Durbin is the number two Democrat in the Senate after Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A Glenn Greenwald post in Salon deals with this issue in much greater detail. It’s well worth reading.

It’s no surprise that these things are true even in our current majority-Democrat Senate. 

For all the cynicism about politicians, many want to believe the people they vote for put average folks first. While what we have today in Washington is much better than what we had before the 2008 election, one wonders if our political system will ever be free of big money influence no matter who we elect.

Of course, some blame must rest with the public. Public financing of campaigns is an idea that has long been out there. But it’s an issue that does not excite people. Also, people often oppose government action reflexively even when it might  be helpful. 

In my own case , I supported Barack Obama when he turned down public money for his Presidential race in 2008 because my main focus was on Mr. Obama winning. One can easily say I took a short cut against my own beliefs in order to win. 

Here is the web home of Public Campaign. These folks advocate for the public financing of campaigns.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments