Each of us is a raindrop on the windowpane, pure but with a heart of soot, full of potential to join with others. As we run into each other on the way to the bottom of our life of pane, we merge and gain power. Is the force we gain the force of the original drop or is it a collective force which only appears to be the original, grown large? When a third drop is absorbed into the first two, themselves just joined, is its shimmer diminished by the larger gleam?
Mitch is beating the leadership conundrum again. He points out that leaders may not set out to be, but become leaders by doing something they simply can’t not do. The issue last week was connectedness and the possibility of 10,000 MLKs, RFKs and Ghandis. Last week Dr. Weinberger suggested that perhaps only a strong individual can rescue progressivism from the trash heap of current politics.
There’s a lot of despair among so-called progressive liberals, who seem to have been blind-sided by the power grab the conservatives spent 20 years engineering, accomplished with blow-job politics and anointment of the runner-up by the high priests of our judiciary.
The over-arching conservative agenda, as Doc’s friend George Lakoff teaches us, is Patriarchy—a strong parent model for society. Patriarchy is the sponsor of fundamentalism, which makes a lot of us rightfully crazy and which directly sponsors blowing people up as needed.
The controlling liberal agenda is what Lakoff calls the nurturant-parent model, but I think of it as node-parity—every node in a system has equal value, must be respected and nourished, and the links among the nodes are more important than the brilliance or dysfunction of any single node, or all of them. This makes the patriarchists crazy.
I suggest we don’t have time for a single leader because the culture lacks the traditional handles such a leader might pull, so no “charismat” is likely to appear.
Those who seek a systems-based rather than ideology-based culture (who sound like but are not exclusively liberal) need to realize that new tools have been accumulating to do so, invisibly. These tools have been quietly put in place even while fundamentalists were using the old tools to load the PTAs, city councils, courts and Republican apparatus, equally invisibly.
Collectively, the new tools of power are called the Internet. But we who seem to most believe in it are still not using it as we might. I’m convinced it’s because the real uses of the Internet are not yet clear to us.
We’d like some short cuts to universal rationality, but there are none. If we believe in the network, use the network. If not, we should go to work for a political party.
Anybody Can Improve It. But How?
Some say that, despite initial expectations, the Internet is not leading us toward populism. How might it? We need to become expert in creating virulent populist data tools—web applications—that make it worthwhile for thousands, then millions of people to express their political preferences in ways that overwhelm traditional means of organizing opinion and resources. Imagine a distributed web application that elicits and aggregates political values so effectively and broadly that representatives feel compelled to consult it to understand their mandate specifically:Vote the People’s Will or Die.
I’m a design guy. If there’s a known problem, I like to imagine a specific solution and wonder about implementation. The above is obviously the talking points for the Electoral Collage notion I floated last fall and repeated last week. Who knows if it’s possible? Does it matter?
Last week I reserved electoralcollege.com and invited anybody to use it. On reflection, the name seems too cute and vague to be memetic. The core concept in this web application is that, when the electorate feels so powerful and confident that it gives up its right to a secret ballot and goes on record to such an extent, the vote is a formality. I like the idea of See My Vote!
If you’d like to do something with seemyvote.com, let me know. I’ll trade it for an action plan. I’m pretty busy with the microeconomy meme.