Social Media Is Hurting Democracy

Liberals and conservatives have one thing in common: zero interest in learning how and what those they disagree with actually think. Click. Talking past each other is deeply unhealthy for our entire political system. A functioning democracy requires that citizens make informed choices — which voters can’t do if their information sources are ideologically monochromatic. … Continue reading Social Media Is Hurting Democracy

Descent from Deliberation into Trolling

FB page of a "conservative friend" today has numerous posts from his network ridiculing citizens exercising their constitutional rights as if they have no legitimate reason to protest, defending executive orders that courts have declared illegal, and trading barbs over which political ideology is a mental disorder. His compatriots declare taxation is theft and the … Continue reading Descent from Deliberation into Trolling

America is Downgraded to ‘Flawed Democracy’

"The Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States to a 'flawed democracy,' reflecting record levels of political polarization and a widespread lack of confidence in government. But things may not be as bleak as they appear...Some observers see hope for the future in local, community-oriented efforts to promote civic engagement and a sense of unity. " http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0126/US-no-longer-a-full-democracy-in-2016-Democracy-Index-Where-do-we-go-from-here

Smug Tribal Oneupsmanship Rather Than Respectful Exchange of Rational Differences

One of my Facebook friends, John, has a habit of pointing to the weakest and most extreme arguments of those he disagrees with, as if they are somehow representative of all political opponents, that most are somehow irrational. One can easily do that to him as well. It makes for perhaps a good game of … Continue reading Smug Tribal Oneupsmanship Rather Than Respectful Exchange of Rational Differences

Provoking Online Reaction, But Not Open-minded Dialogue

I have a Facebook friend, John, who repeatedly posts provocative or hyper-partisan statements that seem designed to get reactions, but generate more heat than light. It's a far cry from discussing politics with your neighbor who has a completely different perspective but who you listen to respectfully and are always looking to find his good … Continue reading Provoking Online Reaction, But Not Open-minded Dialogue

E-democracy turns into a dark counter-revolution

In the 1990s, I was something of a cyber-utopian. I believed the Internet would usher in a new age of participatory democracy in the best sense, and possibly even a new progressive era. I have tracked and written about the evolution of the political Internet since 1994. Obama's 2008 victory, fueled by his campaign's cutting … Continue reading E-democracy turns into a dark counter-revolution