There are folks trying to figure out what happens with the millions of people networked together, after the election. As a kind of online community organizer, I figure it's worth putting this in historical context and then proposing some serious short-term real stuff with implications for the future.
I figure 2008 is the new 1776. We're about to complement representative democracy with grassroots democracy, networking in millions, then tens of millions of citizens. In the process, we can move away from top-down, big money politics.
Like most people, I'd prefer not to be bothered by politics, but I feel this is hugely important, time for me to be a stand-up guy regarding this.
(note to self: find better phrase than "networked, grassroots democracy.)
I've articulated this in some detail in an article in Politico.
Two hundred years ago, Thomas Paine, Ben Franklin and the other forefathers of today’s bloggers embraced the notion that government should function with the consent of the governed. Key to the success of the idea was exploiting communications technology, including the printing press and the postal service.
Based on similar efforts in the ancient Roman republic and Britain, the Founders designed a government based on a small number of elected representatives, with a separate judiciary. Checks and balances were provided so that one group couldn’t seize power. A free press served as a further check against tyranny.
In recent years, the balances have seriously eroded, but at the same time, a new communication technology, the Internet, has flourished.
People use the Net as their own printing press, giving them a voice and a reach they’ve never had before, for better or for worse. They are networking at the grass-roots level more effectively than ever before.