History, politics, people of Oly WA

Holy cow, we are lame (Chile is better than us)

While we’re nominating a presidential candidate that can’t learn from the internet experiment, all of Chile’s presidential candidates took part in online dialog:

…the Digital Nation Foundation was born with the mission of developing a digital culture in Chile that joins the government, business world, civil sector, and education system together in order to promote greater information, communication, and development for everyone. And it is that foundation which today, has helped make Chile the first country in the world to have each of its presidential candidates blogging their platforms, promises, and news items on what has turned into a always-running, weblog-based, presidential debate open to whoever would like to participate.

Here is a badly translated post from one of the successful candidates, Michelle Bachelet, who is facing a run-off vote in January:

I have impelled from the beginning of my campaign spaces of citizen dialog in which all can be expressed to construct diverse, pluralista and democratic a proposal, and is for that reason that I have supported with pleasure the initiative of this forum-blog of the Foundation Digital Country, as complement to the one of my Web site, blogeando . Although I think that the direct bonding with people is irreplaceable, Internet finishes and the geographic distances with time.

The point is that good dialog can exist online. It can be good for the political process, it can drive civic engagement. But, there has to be buy-off from the current top of the pile so that folks at the bottom can be heard. I’m specifically thinking of the political parties right now, but this is a good criticism for state and local governments too. You can develop and moderate web products that engage people in politics and their communities.


  1. thespartantruth

    That’s wonderful that Chile is blogging. But it leaves me with so many questions. Thank my cynicism, but do the candidates really respond? Give it to the speech writer and see what happens is my guess

    Let us not be fooled. It’s just another place for politicians to propogate their propoganda. I doubt the efficacy of blogging. However, I do see the internet playing a bigger role in future elections.

  2. Emmett

    Yes, the point of the Chilean blog is that the candidates responded to the questions. Even if a surrogate responded, it was an attempt at creating back and forth dialog. Even Howard Dean rarely responded on his own blog, but his campaign was the first real push for interent conversation as a political tool.

    That said, if we just sit here and say whatever politicians say is propogranda, then we’ll never get what we want in terms of actual dialog.

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