Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lesson of the Internet

Age of the Internet.

I’ve read all the predictions of what will happen to the GOP in the 2010 elections. They range anywhere from the GOP is dead scenario, to the idea that the GOP will take back the House; and all things in-between. I would like to add a new wrinkle.

The rules have changed.

The way people get their information and the ways ideas are disseminated are entirely different.

We are losing the middleman. In the case of politics, that middleman in need of change is the Party leadership. Until the GOP leadership stops trying to control the grassroots and starts to actually listen to and help when asked, they may very well become totally irrelevant.

Obama knew that and was able to come from outside the Democrat Party Leadership and storm the process with email and the internet. That is not the magic pill as the Republicans think. They have been slowly coming to that conclusion. The Leadership from the National on down to the County have been ceaselessly preaching grass roots, big tents, and setting up web sites and blogs galore to no avail.

The point they should be seeing is that there was a driving force that enabled the new technology of blogs and websites to become useful tool that it was for the Obama election team. That force was not the DNC, or Hillary would of won the primary.That force was an anger; a general anger coming from the general public who sensed they had lost control of the government; that their freedoms were being eroded. That anger was bred from a sense of helplessness which hung over everything like a dark cloud.

They wanted to vote against the status quo. Obama was the perfect storm. The Internet was the perfect medium that people could use to get and send out news and make plans in real time. The internet was a chance for people to become part of the process; it seemed only logical that they picked someone who was a political novice. With that combination a national election was won. During the last election I couldn’t help but think the Republicans were specifically running against this new idea.

Early on I made the connection with what the internet did to the way people could invest in the stock market. I remember getting excited about investing in stocks, but I had very little money. This was before internet trading was allowed. I made an appointment for the following week to see a broker. He was very smart and knowledgeable and therefore unwilling to share such wisdom with the likes of me. He said I couldn’t make anything with the amount of money I had and he was right. The commissions et all would eat up any possible profits. The stock market was for the big boys.

Well along came internet trading and I spent a year in the heyday of it making all kinds of money (a relative expression) without leaving my house, and paying commissions so low even I could afford them. The internet stock revolution brought billions of new money into the market. Much like politics joining with the internet once the people with the new money found out how the game was rigged, the bubble burst and people were left to figure out a new way or put their money back under their mattress.

The Republicans have the chance to define a new way, but we need to start doing it at the grassroot level. If we wait for the leadership to provide it, they will keep giving us new gadgets for the same old same old.

I don’t know the magic answer other than the answer lies in the doing and failing and changing and doing and succeeding and failing and doing. It’s called real life and like real life it takes “doing” to get anything out of it. Talking and blogging is needed, BUT it is not “doing”.

We used to be a party of “Can Do”, hard work is good and individual effort. The political class of politicians, consultants and big money non profits including the Government no longer reflect those ideas.

I wish a thousand little conservative groups would start up with a million different ideas. Like a kid it would be unruly but think of what we could learn from the doing even if all the ideas don’t work so what. That’s how kids grow up and mature. Think what we could learn about organizing small groups what works, what doesn’t work. Isn’t it better to learn that when we are young? We could learn how we relate to others (compromise) so a group can work, to actually get something done.

Nothing I can see wrong with that especially when compared to the “common wisdom” and where that is getting us.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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