Sunday, August 30, 2009

Virtual politics

This is a short blurb that I have written for a new project I'm working with, "Change by the People." Short, but certainly something that is worth considering, particularly in this day and age of technology. The "Age of Reason" if you will ;) Plus, it's an easy way to update the blog! hehe


The Internet has truly revolutionized the transfer of information. What once used to take months to travel from one side of the globe to the next can now be sent within seconds. Email, chat forums, social networking sites have all combined to make the Internet the newest tool in communication, education, entertainment, and grassroot campaigns. With this growing technology, many have turned to the Internet as the newest political tool.

President Obama's election campaign differed from previous presidential election campaigns in one very crucial element. He utilised the power of the Internet to mobilise and encourage the youth to vote. As the youth tend to fall into the lowest voter-turnout bracket, President Obama's grassroots Internet campaign was truly revolutionary. Through his campaigning, people gathered together under one collective cause. The energy spread infectiously from one individual to the next, resulting in a massive overturn of political ideology in the States. Obama's ability to affect people on a personal and individual basis was the shining light of his election, as he proved that by impacting and motivating people individually they can become the change they want to see around them. His “yes WE can” slogan was visible literally everywhere, from t-shirts, to TV ads, to Internet banners, and the belief that it inspired was truly extraordinary. As a result of this collective movement of people, voter-turn out soared, and finally, the people were the ones speaking for themselves and pushing forward with the change they themselves desired to see.

Learning from Obama's example in his ability to mobilize and motivate a group of people, many political parties and activists are now spreading their ideals through the Internet. Egyptian political activists are no different. Facebook has become one of the primary means of organizing the political youth, with calls for demonstrations and strikes being posted on the social networking site. To what extent Internet political activism will impact the Middle East remains to be seen. It can, however, be heralded as one of the great leaps forward in spreading understanding and dialogue around the world, allowing people from entirely different cultures to meet and exchange ideals. Using the U.S. Presidential campaign as an example, it clearly points to the tremendous impact that people themselves can have. What difference does one person make? Only all the difference in the world.

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