In It For The Country?
A bit of a ramble about politics and a little drupalcon... Really just thinking out loud.
Are you in it for the country? I'm kind of wrestling with that right now. You see, I have a pretty solid sense that I'll be allright no matter what happens. I'm not really afraid for my life, and only moderately for my life chances. I'll be fine. Maybe dissapointed, but basically fine.
So that begs the question of why bother, why get into it? Why really give a shit about politics if you know your own life will be ok. The Ameican Dream is a pursuit best undertook in the private sector, son. Pollitics is just bullshit anyway, right?
Well, in a word, no. Because community is life, and community means organizing, and in a networked world organization means scaling and scaling means politics. I mean, the CEO track is similar, just takes seed money.
But are you in it for the country? Really? Do you have a vision for how it might all work? I sort of do, but I don't know how realistic it really is. It's a long game, you know? There was a time, right around the run-up to the Invasion of Iraq, and maybe through the election (or at least democratic primary), where things were really moving fast. The pace will pick up with politics again, but in real terms we're going to be dealing with these problems for a long time thanks to the fact that our country was lead through a terrible crisis by an incompatent bunch of shitheel Republican hacks.
That's something I'm unhappy about, because it could have been really different. They still could be.
I think it's interesting that Al Gore is positioning himself to capture that groundswell of internet support... starting a big media website, making those speeches, privately confessing that he'd only do it if he were drafted. He's setting up dominos, folks. I think that could be interesting to watch.
Draft Movements are a really under-explored tactic. You'd think someone would have realized that fundraising potential alone warrants further exploration. But they're also tricky things. If it's really a Draft, what if the Candidate turns out to be incompatible with the Draft Organization? The big one (Clark) didn't really work because the roots and the pros didn't really connect, and the campaign didn't really hit its stride.
It might work on a more local level, though. Could be a tactic for recruitment: local communities "drafting" their own members into service.
Oooh... what if you had a site which was Digg-like in that it allowed the community moderation system to rate itself up to the top, but rather than Tech News, it would be Political Debate. In order to vote you have to be logged in, and are yourself a potential candidate. You'd organize a good system for new content discovery, make a lot of use out of trackbacks, groups and ratings.
Sites like this are coming, but you have to be careful not to try and build the whole Semantic Web on your domain. Still, I find this idea kind of alluring. Might try it myself. You could use it to raise money for a PAC. Open Souce politics, baby. It's the only way to go.
Drupal is just starting to get organized, and it's pretty cool. It's funny, because we were in there in a session Zack had called for, named "How to make money and help Drupal at the same time," and we're all talking about how the emerging market is looking. Because we're all so politically minded we immediately start thinking about structuring it. Eric Gunderson, from Development Seed, a renegade international economist, sort of pulled us back in to reality: what we need is something simple and open, just a nice little phone book.
But we were all set to start premateurely regulating the market. It happened earlier too, in Greg Heller's talk about how drupal professionals should organize. At one point we got off on a tangent about whether to seek labor union affiliation. Even the person who brought it up originally made the note that it was quite premature, and that she simply recommended taking out the word "Guild" (which has a special meaning in labor lingo) and references to a "Bug" to distinguish Guild-Built websites.
Now, I admit that it's a pretty keen use of the drupal Droop, but I don't think Drupal Guild is quite the banner to push forward under. I don't have any alternate suggestiosn going forward, but I plan to write some stuff down soon and get the conversation going on the blogs.
Actually, that's a good tactic going forward in both cases, start getting some of the mailing list discussion public, draw some pictures.
So we're formin' a club, and lettin' everyone in, and we aint gonna cry no more.