Friday, January 9, 2009

The New Media

David Carlson Politics is now listed as an official endorser of Legalize the Medicinal and Recreational Use of Marijuana on the Change.org website. This policy is still holding strong at number one, but there is still eight more days of voting left.

While many know that the Ron Paul Revolution (now in the form of the Campaign for Liberty) was largely fueled by a passionate group that used the new media (the internet) to get the word out about Ron Paul. What I have realized now is that fringe movements, such as the small number of people who have educated themselves about the War on Drugs and strongly believe the policy should be changed, are empowered now more than ever. One hundred years ago the pure expenses of organization (political and nonpolitical alike) were extensive. Now there are sites and networks for people to plug into and truly get organized when they run counter to the popular media and those who have similar views may be spread out across a vast land.

Power truly comes through information. The internet has been and continues to break down information barriers. Simply logging onto the internet, you now have a wealth of information people could only dream of having access to a hundred, fifty, even twenty years ago. It is harder for the mainstream media and government interests to fight against information exchanging that makes an argument for alternate policy and viewpoints. This is one of the main reasons why I believe something like legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use can succeed. There are many websites that lay out arguments and give factual information as to why the war on drugs has failed and especially why the case for legalizing marijuana is extremely strong.

It is undeniable that the internet was the backbone (and continues to be) of Ron Paul's rise. But one must also look at how Obama used the internet. They used it to influence and connect with young voters. The internet is essential to any future political campaigns (be it for one policy or for an election). Creating a top-notch site is becoming less expensive as there are more and more who are becoming knowledgeable about web design, and this will significantly level the playing field. Instead of spending millions on billboards and other expensive advertising, one just needs to drive voters to their site and make it easy for them to find out what the candidate is all about and why they are the better choice. The internet is going to change how political campaigns (and our lives) will be conducted in the next 10, 20, 50 years.

Therefore, the internet is one reason I hold out hope for ideas that are not covered by mainstream media (or conversation in daily life). When one can easily access ideas that make sense, support will grow. Education is key, and the time and energy needed to find the information that will allow this (political) education will be, and has been, greatly reduced.

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