I’m starting a new website. I’m still going to keep blogging here, and keep lawver.net as my personal presence on the ol’ it-ner-net. The new site will hopefully be something else, something larger than just my family. It will hopefully become a community, large enought o influence things and diverse enough to stay honest.
Cryptic, huh? To clarify, ok, wait, to start to clarify I have to explain something else. I’ve been watching with a lot of interest the political process for the past couple years. I’ve moved around a little on the political map trying to define myself by a party, a candidate or a group. I figured out recently that I’m going about it all wrong. I don’t belong to one single party, candidate or group. I realized that the way things work today in politics is wrong. I have a sneaking suspicion that things have always worked this way, and people (or just me) are now waking up to it because we have access to vast new quantities of timely data, and a cacophony of new voices. We see things as they happen, before anyone can grab ahold of them and put their spin on it. Politics is not about right and wrong. It’s not about doing what’s best for the people politicians represent. It’s about power (thanks, Dawson, for helping me clarify that). Because money is so integrally tied to politics, money equals power. Those with money get things done, whether they’re individuals, corporations or large, well-organized groups. I realized that I am no represented. No matter who I vote for, they’re probably owned by those donors or by a party who’s only interest is the collection of power.
The political landscape is in sad shape. Maybe it’s always been that way, and I’m just waking up to it. Either way, it disgusts me in a way I’ve never felt before. I’m angier than I’ve ever been about anything in my life. I have a feeling that I’m not the only one. They say that the country is polarized between Right and Left. I think that for a very vocal minority, that’s true. I think for a good portion of the country, they could care less. For everyone else, which I have a feeling is a very large percentage of the country – the so-called “silent majority” that both parties try to claim – we feel helpless and unrepresented because the parties have moved so far to the deep corners of the political spectrum and are beholden to groups that we just can’t stomach supporting.
Now that I’ve told you how I feel, let’s talk about what I want to do about it. I want to create a community. I don’t want a community defined by political parties, toxic buzzwords or preconceived notions. I want to find the silent majority. I have a feeling that it’s this great chunk of the American populace in the middle places of the political spectrum that’s just waiting to find a way to do something, or so disgusted with the process that they’ve dropped out of it. How do I find this mythical group? Since I’m not a terribly smart guy, or that organized, I’m falling back on what I do. I build websites and applications. Since I don’t have the time right now to learn PHP, I’m relying on software that already exists (Drupal), and trying to tweak it enough to make the site what I want.
I’m hoping the site can turn into a place where people can talk about what’s important to them – the issues that really matter – without resorting to name calling, tired old arguments and party lines. I hope that by honestly discussing issues, we can come to some consensus. If we can find out what the silent majority wants, or at least the things that most of us can agree on (I have a feeling it’s things like campaign finance reform), we might be able to exert some influence on the process. I want politics to be about the greater good – independant of campaign donations and bought influence. I think the internet is the way to pull it off. The web allows for instant and cheap communication, and communities independant of geography. It allows for connections that none of us thought possible even 10 years ago.
I’m planning on launching the site in the next couple of weeks, once I get the templates and features ironed out. I have no expectations for this project – just hope. I hope it turns into something useful, powerful and real. I hope it becomes something larger than just a couple people shouting into the void. I really hope it becomes a community, and that community can come together behind common goals and get things accomplished. I don’t know what those things are yet… but I want to find out. If you’re interested in helping out, drop me an e-mail, or better yet ping this post or leave a comment.