Thursday, October 06, 2011

Is politics another form of communication? Or is it the other way around?

tIt’s interesting to see that I’m not the only writer with a writing blog who strays into politics.

Jo VonBargen, poet and blogger from Texas and a blog followmate (see how I just made up that word? Am I a writer, or what?) also alternates her posts between writing about the writing process and the daily challenges she faces as a writer (and some of them seem huge!), and writing about her political mileu. Her latest post (as of this writing) states, in part:

“I want to make the politicians fear the voter once again. I want those fat cats up on Capitol Hill to be reminded in a very vivid way that they are the employees…and we are the employer. I want them scrambling and bowing and scraping. And I want to take every lobbyist up there and throw ’em on a bonfire. Oh, don’t get me started…. just keep a light in the window and howl loudly!”

And this, I think, is fair. I called my blog “written words,” intending to write about about good and poor writing that I found on the corporate, political and social scenes. That is, any form of public communication from just about anyone.

It didn’t really turn out that way, and I veered into the political world, too. Well, these are still written words, after all—I wrote them.

But I am really intrigued by how closely Jo VonBargen’s stated views match my own. In the same post I just mentioned, she brings up something I have thought about every US election since 2000: why do the Americans have such a ridiculously overcomplicated way to count votes?

“We want democracy back in the US! Go back to paper blinkin’ ballots! Then the actual vote can be examined—and we don’t have to take the word of some secretive company that their software is accurate.”

VonBlargen’s post voices the often inchoate rage of those like the Occupy Wall Street protesters. In response to that prompt, she wrote to me “I think we're gonna have people in the streets all over America very soon, just like in Europe and the Middle East. As the dollar erodes and people struggle to buy gas and food, the anger level is going to explode.”

Well, I hope things don’t get violent or nasty. But to refocus the topic on communication itself, I am more and more encouraged by the increasing voice that those outside the political, financial and media elites are getting now. Occupy Wall Street was almost absent from mainstream news coverage for the first two and half weeks. Now, I see it in the newspapers and on main TV stations almost every day. And the coverage does not any longer just dismiss this as unimportant, or the flavour-of-the-month for movie stars desperately seeking publicity.

And that, readers, is the promise of all this communication technology realized.


  1. Wow, you've done this piece very well, Scott! I'm very flattered that you chose to quote my blog, and equally jazzed that someone in this world actually agrees with me! That's the ultimate prize for a writer. Keep it up!!

  2. First off, I like your word "blog followmate"--they are like nuggets of gold. I couldn't agree more with Jo--our politicians should definitely be "bowing and scraping" to us. They seem to forget that they work for us and, frankly, I think they should receive the same benefits their constituents (namely us) get in terms of health care, retirement benefits, etc. I think a revolt is long past due, but it's too bad they haven't listened to us and taken us more seriously sooner. Great blog and I'll be back!