"I put forward formulas and unresolved notions… not to establish truth, but to seek it." -Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
A plurality of voices, unmolested, though they dissent
from the current host’s point of view: that is proof positive of democratic vigor, no?
Barack Obama, my Facebook friend, seems to be no wuss. He and his people are not afraid of any unfavorable vox populi there might be. His White House puts out a forum for FB discussion, whether it’s in his immediate political benefit or no. When I just checked in, it had over 500 comments, and most of them were negative. The general consensus seems to be that folks think that BO has sold the little guy out to the large corporate interests of big pharma and the health insurance industry.
And so on the eve of his biggest legislative “victory” (a vitiated health care plan ensuring–yet not entirely surely–additional millions of Americans), BO’s White House opens itself up to the dissenting views of its clients, to folks who will say negative things about the
founder of the feast.
It is a protocol issue that never arose in the electronic social media-less past. It might seem a mis-step on his part, a political faux pas that a shrewd operator will be careful not to repeat. “Let your enemies speak at your victory party? How inappropriate.” But that only looks short term.
The end result, I think, will be only good for American democracy. Sure, the immediate loser may be Obama and his friends, but the fact that he is extending the conversation to the people will be the saving genius of his administration. Like FDR’s Fireside Chats, BO’s use of the new media brings the current leader into a common ground with his followership. It is a respect that has been all too lacking in our Federal governance: a respect for the people.