Towards Accessible Politics

This Ezra Klein post about how blogs have brought political issues rather than political competition to the forefront is very good. The latter has fans much like basketball or stamp-collecting, but the former is important to us all.

Everyone cares about how their boss treats them, whether their water is safe to drink, and what medicine they’re allowed to have. Then these fundamental concerns are transformed into labor, environment, and health policy, becoming less immediately understandable, but many people still get it. However, at the next level up, when politicians and media figures discuss policy abstractions only in relation to how they affect the power/popularity of politicians, the whole thing becomes ridiculously inaccessible and, more importantly, boring — I mean, who (outside of select aficionados) really cares whether Guiliani’s health plan affects Thompson’s poll ratings? Anyone?

Blogs allow people to get past the dominant political narrative of cool/uncool, and dive into real, honest to god, politics about the rules that affect their lives. Claims of voter apathy have been greatly overstated. People care. A lot. But they need an outlet, a venue, and blogs provide a way to discuss and affect change in a meaningful way.

It’s been only 6 years since political blogging began to take off, and already the political landscape has changed dramatically, with record interest in the Democratic primary being just one data point. No current trend excites me more as a progressive than the increase in engagement and power of ordinary folk as a result of the blogosphere.

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