Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Thursday, May 08, 2003
So as you may have read here and elsewhere, the Howard Dean for President campaign is using Meetup to help co-ordinate simultaneous grass-roots meetings across the country. This is totally unprecedented stuff, and there has been a lot of press lately highlighting the enormous swell of support for Dean, and Meetup's role in facilitating that.

So the unofficial Howard Dean campaign weblog (the campaign manager and other Dean staff post to it occasionally) has a thread soliciting comments from people who attended the hundreds of Dean Meetups that took place yesterday, and it's absolutely fascinating stuff. This is Internet-era grassroots democracy being constructed on the fly by thousands of different people -- decentralized political campaigning. No-one knows exactly what to do or how exactly it all ought to work -- there's been almost no time for planning. But it's working, and it could be the story of the 2004 election. I'm kvelling!

I still don't know if I'm going to vote for the man, but the reason I was a Nader supporter in 2000 was that he was the only candidate discussing the things that we as a country need to discuss -- the role of corporations in public life, civil liberties, health care, "globalization". A lot has changed since 2000, but I still think these issues are on the whole being ignored, and so far it sounds like Dean is the best hope of dragging them onto the election-year agenda. I don't know how I feel about his foreign policy approach, but at the very least I hope he wins New Hampshire and gets a national discussion going.

Plus as an Internet dork [disclosure: and Meetup investor], it's thrilling to see how his campaign has given the Internet a chance to prove what it can do for politics!


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