From TechPresident this morning…
Following in the footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, and Al Gore, Barack Obama has posed a question on Yahoo! Answers, reports the Chicago Tribune. His question? "How can we engage more people in the democratic process?" . . . The Tribune notes that Obama isn't the first candidate to use the forum; Hillary Clinton and John McCain have been there, done that.
Why aren't members of Congress doing this? And if they are, let me know.
As of this writing there have been more than 12,000 responses to Obama's questions. They are quite revealing:
"I think we need to give people a personal stake in the process. I think most of us feel that we have little to no power. We all need to feel that we are important and that our opinions matter."
"Ban Ads, make people research candidates. A computer can be used for more than spreading hate and division on yahoo . . .
"Restore their faith in Congress by providing concise information about the workings of the legislature. The past 6 years of inaction and obstruction were horrible, but Congresses' reputation is being further eroded as it begins to expose Executive branch wrongdoing. Every provision in a bill that benefits a particular legislator or district seems to be called an "earmark" or "pork." Congressmen and Senators are being portrayed as craven creatures who trade votes on nationally important issues for this pork, and who "fish" and "grandstand" for purely selfish political motives.
All of this seems to feed cyncism and citizen apathy. I think we need to know something positive and informative about the work of Congress. For example, What is proper role of pork? and, How is the executive branch being investigated in a way that will have a positive impact for our country?"
"On YouTube for the first time last week, a presidential candidate responded to a video when Dennis Kucinich responded to some statements someone else had made about him. This could be an incredible way to have a dialogue with people……allow people to record questions to you via YouTube, and then respond with a publicly accessible video for all to see. Voters will know where you stand, candidates will take positions, and all videos are easily accessible by all! I'd highly recommend beginning this, Mr. Obama, it would set you apart as a trendsetter, would show that you're above the old type of politics, and allow you to really interact with your grass-roots supporters, who are the bread and butter of your campaign (at least we like to think).
"People want things easy to access…like information. Yet with the vast amount of media & resources, it is hard to determine who stands for what. I don't have a whole lot of time to read through candidate web sites, and I don't always make it home on time for the 6 o'clock news beat on candidates. I just want to know who stands for what, what their plans are and how it will benefit me and my family. If you can make it simple yet informational then I am sure more people would be more inclined to be involved.