See that image over there on the left – the vintage World War II woman with the headline, Liberty Waits on Your Fingertips? Currently, it links to a page with a list of my posts about the Thought Crime Bill (which for now, sits dormant in a Senate committee). Other times, I link it to this page about bloggers' rights at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
At the bottom of the image is a quote from Jay Rosen - “Blogs are little First Amendment machines.” I first heard it when Jay, a professor of journalism at New York University who blogs at PressThink, spoke during a general session at the first Blogher conference in 2005. Six little words to remind us that blogging can do more for democracy, for making the voice of the people heard, than anything since the invention of the printing press.
With a blog, you can share your unique perspective on any topic you want; it gives you the power of the professional media. Oh yeah, you say, but not nearly as many readers. Probably so, but you never know the reach of your words.
Affinity groups – elderbloggers are an affinity group of old people – share some of the same readers. But we each have other readers too who have other readers and so on, around the globe.
Yesterday, Marian Dent of And the Beat Goes On sent me this video. You could call it, and it is, a good, cleverly-done primer on blogging for those who don’t know what it is. But there is an additional theme regarding each blogger’s potential to inspire and motivate others. Take a look. [2:58 minutes]
There are three months until what is, arguably, the most important presidential election of our lives that will affect not only the future direction of the United States, but much of the world. There is hardly a public issue in existence that does not need addressing from the Constitution, war, torture, healthcare, education, the economy, class warfare, corporate involvement in government, treatment of veterans, warrantless surveillance, energy, inflation, Social Security and more.
So much, in fact, that it is difficult for an individual voter to be well informed on all of them and know where individual candidates - for Congress as well as president - stand on them. So much that Senator Obama, I've read, has more than three hundred advisers.
So here is what I propose: that each blogger reading this today – whatever else you write about on your blog - take on one issue or a small aspect of one issue, follow it in the mainstream press, on alternative media and political sites online, on other blogs as it is debated and once a week, write about what you’ve learned on that issue. Make yourself an expert on it, do some research, give us the facts, tell us what the candidates are saying, how it's being spun by their surrogates - and your opinions too, if you are so inclined.
Readers in other countries: it would be fascinating to read your perspective on issues in the U.S. election which will undoubtedly have consequences in your countries that will differ depending on who is elected.
And here is what I will do at Time Goes By: I will use Sundays, when I usually give readers a break with no post, to link to each of your election issue posts. Just be sure to email me the link to your post by Friday at noon because it’s not humanly possible for me to review every blog often enough to keep up.
Let’s use our blogs as the little First Amendment machines they are, so we will each be as informed as we possibly can be when we enter those polling booths in November.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lois Cochran will leave your smiling after reading A Road Trip with My Grandson.]