Thursday, November 27, 2008

on the d.E.A.N.

the democratic Electronic Accountability Network ?

"what's on the d.E.A.N. ?"
"what are the numbers on the d.E.A.N. ?"
"that belongs on the d.E.A.N"

could those quotes become well-known catchphrases in 2009 and beyond ? from the ghost of Jerry Brown's "send me $5" campaign in 1992 and in honor of the Governor of Vermont's groundbreaking effort in 2004 that culminated in this year's paradigm shifting electoral victories, i suggest the creation a new section, duplicated and networked on high-traffic liberal websites, called the d.E.A.N.
(the small *d* on purpose)

whereby micro/single-issues can be detailed, trial-ballooned, and net-polled rapidly and comprehensively. determining if an issue warrants coordinated nationwide fund-raising, phone-calling, letter writing, e-mailing etc. the issue/question could then be highlighted to the point where the corporate media is forced by competitive self-interest to devote air-time and column inches to the issue. the impact of net-generated groundswells of advocacy on particular issues has already been amply demonstrated, but i would like to see a further refinement and exploitation of the mechanism.

large issues/questions can often go un- or under-reported, but advocacy-oriented websites are quite capable already of dealing with them, whereas i suspect that the sum effect of thousands of small questions of public policy is a quite underestimated engine of real "change".

such a vehicle for using the electronic internet for "democracy" (in it's classic sense) because of it's power of 'immediacy' could within a few years easily come down to perhaps a single element of a budget bill being reviewed by a sub-committee. i hope to see a time soon when just a few thousand dollars raised or a few thousand letters and calls (or the widespread reporting and acceptance of the network's existence and content itself) can force one small change in some relatively obscure bill that would have large consequences for the future and when repeated many times becomes an integral part of all future legislation making.

good question: "would the issue/question be limited to national ones or could state issues be included ?"

as many state issues have national consequences they most certainly could be included. perhaps in reflection of a "50-State Strategy" individual states could have a subset of the dEAN (i.e. ARdEAN, TXdEAN, etc.) but also imagine the power/impact of a national (global?) "voice" on a particular state's debate ?

also: "would the dean be intended to "hold their feet to the fire" ?"

i would suppose it could well be when necessary, but it's utmost value may simply be the promotion, in their minds, of the concept that "yes, the whole world IS watching"

question: why "Accountability" instead of "Action" ?

tangential to the concept of their knowing that they are "being watched" is the idea of promoting more transparency in government by curbing the impulse of complacent secrecy. determined public policy officials and lobbyists would, and will, find ways to shroud their actions, but no longer could they say "oh, no one will ever notice, or find out about it"