BLOG 9: Political Involvement
My first chance to vote in a Presidential election was in 2008, which was an election that revolved around a significant amount of online involvement. As a member of an incredibly digitally-oriented generation, the primary examples of political involvement I have seen have been through the internet. And while I have been involved in offline politics, I have no doubt that online ones are just as legitimate, and potentially even more productive.
While in the past, like-minded political activists would have to convene in one area and would thusly have a limited amount of members in one place, such activists can now digitally meet with other party members from all over the world. The Young Democrats of America have a website where members can not only find out what is happening (and even make plans to meet up with) with Young Democrats nationwide, but they can also find men and women from the same geographical areas to plan local meetings. This internet-provided accessibility to information makes it easier for people to become nationally and locally involved, all within one website.
One part of “being involved” in politics does not even entail active participation in support of political views. Instead, researching politics to make an informed voting decision can also count as political involvement, and the internet makes this incredibly easy. For some like myself who do not have TV, the internet not only provides almost all of our news coverage, but also allows us to thoroughly research what is being presented within the same medium that it is delivered.
The accessibility to political involvement that the internet provides has several implications for democracy. Firstly, citizens of non-democratic countries are able to see the effects of democracy via the internet, and may therefore begin to fight for it in their homeland. This phenomenon can even be seen in the recent protests in Egypt, in which men and women used the internet to start a movement to change their political system. For those already living in a Democratic society, the internet will (hopefully) cause more people to be politically active. It is an incredibly easy medium to use in the sense that it both functions simply and makes political involvement easy. People no longer have to publish a book or speak at a town hall meeting to take a political stance. Instead, they can both preach, converse, and meet with others about politics while sitting in pajamas at home.