Social media has opened up the political discourse a great deal in the last couple of years. So much, to the point that some thinkers are wondering if it is a good thing. In today’s op-ed on CNN, Wesley Donehue opined about the .Dangers Of Social Media Politics In the piece, Mr. Donehue notes the risks involved with what he calls ”over-democratization” He then goes on to give his reasoning as to why there is such a thing as too much democracy. While he it is his opinion, there are faults with that kind of reasoning.
The real here is the anti-democratic sentiment expressed by this op-ed. The free flow of information is good for the political process, and does not prevent politicians from working together at all. And to the point raised regarding the necessity of back door deals as the mode of getting things done, that is part of the problem. The decisions that elected officials make affect the lives of many. Therefore, the fact that more people can weigh in and use these new means to influence those decision makers is a question of participation. The more people these bills affect, the more of a right these same individuals have to speak out.
Even what a politician proposes has to be considered for the impact that it will have on their constituents and the wider public. If politicians do not want to be held accountable for the things they propose, then they should not run for office. The transparency that exists today because of social media is one of the few means people have to influence the political process. It is now part of keeping politicians honest, as difficult as that is. Everyone does not have the required resources to start a SuperPAC.
There appears to be an unstated fear in broad masses of people bringing pressure on to the political system via social networks, and this latest op-ed is an example. All this freedom of imput is too much, and must be wrested back from the horde. If we really want to discuss what is hurting this republic, its the inordinate amount of influence that monied interests have on candidates, starting before day one of their campaigns. What is truly dangerous, is a political process that is unresponsive to people’s concerns. We all know what that is a step towards.
Marc W. Polite