Rebooting Democracy thoughts on Activists versus Pundits and Law

The difference between an actual organizer/activist working in a movement and someone of the punditry; there are *concrete* artifacts pursued by an organizer/activist and the primary artifact of a pundit is their cult of personality.

If there aren’t proposals behind the bluster of someone considered a leader, maybe what you have isn’t a leader, but a pundit in pursuit of nothing more than fame and power.

There is a Rebooting Democracy movement brewing among many in technology spheres. Lawrence Lessig is one of the activists (not pundits) behind this and a perfect example of this is a movement he and many others are pursuing to pass the Fair Elections Now act. Check it out.

Activists tend to be far more boring than pundits in my experience (no offense you activists out there). When you start to coalesce energy into real action (which in turn means facing the gears of bureaucracy and process), it can be frustrating, slow and yes, boring. But it’s the body of democracy. And we are part of it.

YouTube: “Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law”:

There is a challenge here for the Rebooting Democracy movement. Where is the list of laws or bills on the books that lets me find those I might be interested in supporting or fighting to have dismantled? The tools that are out there require a lot of work and are not where they need to be. Until I can locate laws and bills, Local, State, and Federal that would call me to action (even ‘like’-ing them on Facebook) and such activity can be aggregated some how for our representatives to act on, we remain in a position where those who speak the loudest, or have the greatest cash pile, have the ear of our law-makers.

We say we want an informed citizenry and participatory democracy. To me, this is an achievable small measure along that path.

So if you are a software engineer out there who would like to build the infrastructure for this, or are part of this, let me know, because I want to be involved where I can. There is code to write. System’s to build. So that all of us can better connect, be informed, and participate.

Related:

Thomas.gov

O’Reilly Radar: Mark Drapeau: “What does Government 2.0 look like?”

Rebooting Democracy

Code for America

Sunlight Foundation

1 thought on “Rebooting Democracy thoughts on Activists versus Pundits and Law

  1. I’m only going to comment to the following:

    “We say we want an informed citizenry and participatory democracy.”

    Sounds like a great idea! How about first, before anything else, starting at square one of the process. Citizens are informed that the form of government in the United States is a (get ready to write this down k?) A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC.

    There said it…

    The word “Democracy,” is not in the Declaration of Independence, nor is it in the Constitution.

    So before everybody starts running off to review the piles and piles of laws already on the books in the search to redefine/redact/repeal laws that are outdated, unjustified, redundant, corrupt, etc. I think people should understand fully and exactly what type of government they live in.

    Then people can work on writing gigs of code and scripts and nifty programs to search through all of the existing law in their search to correct things.

    Sound like a plan?

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