You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Direct Democracy Inches Forward

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 11 2006

Two examples, one serious and one cute, of how technology is changing the actual conversation between elected officials and their constituents:

First, check out this online survey posted on H2otown ("news and events for Watertown, MA") by town councilor John Donohue, which hyper-local blogger Lisa Williams is serializing into individual polls for her readers. The first question is "If you have had interaction with a town department (DPW, Police, Fire, Clerks), how was your experience?" So far, 34 people have responded, which for a town of about 33,000 is pretty good, I think.

Second, I can't help passing along this amusing exchange from an "online listening session" conducted by Senator Russ Feingold, which vaguely reminded me of that great Saturday Night LIve sketch where Dan Ackroyd plays President Jimmy Carter doing a live national call-in and talks someone down from a bad acid trip by telling them to listen to some Allman Brothers:

ed_from_ohio: How often do you read Marcus Auerelius' meditations? Elsewise, how do you maintain your compusure and, it seems, sincerely respectful demeanor, when partaking in some of these committee hearings I have witnessed on c-span.

Russ_Feingold: I had planned to read Marcus Auerelius' Meditations during this exact time but decided to do this online listening session.

johnny_at_the_beach: i just want to shout out to Trev and Slich.

Russ_Feingold: Hope you are not too hung over from your birthday yesterday, Captain.

Rock on, dude, uh, I mean, Senator!