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What I would say to Al Gore
By Dave Winer on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 at 10:31 PM.

I watched Al Gore for the second night in a row on Keith Olbermann's show. #

I wrote my Turning the Internet Off piece as a response to what he said on last night's show, and to Olbermann's Special Comment#

Both of them say online systems are the answer, but they're not sure how. Trust me, online systems are not the answer.  #

At best they can be used to keep people who want to be informed better informed. Yes, that's important and we should make a big investment in making this work better, and it should not be done by Silicon Valley tech companies (or NY tech companies) because they will behave just like the corporations they are. And we know corporations are the problem (as Gore said tonight). But that's not the point.  #

The problem we have can't be solved by online systems.  #

Here's the problem. #

1. Elections have consequences. #

2. The voters who elected the Tea Party folk (and probably a lot of others) don't seem to understand this. #

3. They vote for candidates as if elections are a reality show. American Idol. Who ever sings the best or makes the other guy look more stupid, that's who they vote for. #

Dear Mr Olbermann and Mr Gore, here is the core of the problem. #

This isn't a reality show, as both of you understand so well. #

This is reality.  #

And today, it almost became very real. #

Very very real. #

A friend of mine, Nicco Mele, a father of two young boys and one of the people you should talk with if you want to know what's possible on the Internet, said he thought maybe it wasn't such a bad idea if we default, when I asked him about it a couple of weeks ago. I didn't agree then, because I'm very conservative about things like the US defaulting. But now that we've been through this, and I've connected some dots for myself that I hadn't connected before, I think he may have had a point. #

A picture named fatLady.jpgToday the Fat Lady almost sang for the US. She was just off-stage. All dressed up and ready to go. At the last minute they called her back. One of these days she's going to come out and sing. That's what's so freaky. #

Fact is, most of the people who voted for those Tea Party degenerates come from poor Southern rural states, and I bet the people who voted for them are either barely middle class, or former middle class, or close to being former middle class. In other words exactly the people who will hurt the most from the Tea Party shenanigans. Maybe it would have been best if they suffered the shock of poverty, the despair of the bottom fully dropping out of their lives, to learn that their vote isn't a joke and isn't a message. That if they make a mistake about voting, they will not just make a bunch of liberals angry (so says their idol, Rush Limbaugh) they will destroy their own lives. Somehow they have to make a connection between who they vote for and their continued existence. No matter how bad it's become for them, and I believe it's very bad, it's going to get a lot worse if we don't turn back now and get ourselves running a real country instead of a reality show country.  #

In any case, forget about the Internet, Mr Gore. Think about how you can paint a picture for those people that they will see, that they will understand that will make sense to them. This is the challenge.  #

If the Internet plays a role in that, great. We can do anything on the Internet. But I suspect it's going to just be a tool, at best. It is not itself an answer. #

BTW, one thing I'd come up with, right off the bat, are some new pledges for candidates. Like I pledge to not raise taxes on the middle-class. Or I pledge not to cut Medicare. Or I pledge to reform taxes so the richest people pay their share. And I'd get off TV and get busy in the back rooms Mr Gore, twisting those arms and getting those sigs. And then give them the money they need to kick some tea party butt.  #

Christmas Tree
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