If Political Junkies Spoke to Everyone Instead of Just One Another

David Sirota is one of the best of the new crop of political analysts. In this article he rightly identifies a barrier which prevents activists from reaching out to a wider public. It is our belief that FDR, Humphrey and Wellstone were able to have a greater impact than others because they had mastered the ability to convey an understanding of issues and policy to the average man and woman.

Excerpt from David Sirota writing at http://www.salon.com:

On the political junkie side of this chasm are those of us who follow politics and social issues closely. We typically get our information through niche media, email newsletters, membership organizations and the attendant social media feeds. The media that serves this audience seems perfectly happy to commodify dissent by providing niche content that speaks only to a narrow audience — and nobody else. To many looking in from the outside, that creates the image of a holier-than-thou insularity that is, to say the least, off putting. Ultimately, from within this bubble, “activism” becomes narrowly defined as a grinding project of political work trying to somehow convince A) politicians to do things their donors don’t want them to do or B) the larger politically disengaged world to do stuff that can seem too difficult (door knocking, phone banking, etc.) or wholly futile (signing petitions, sending a letter to a lawmaker, etc.).

On the other side of this divide is Everyone Else. This is the much larger throng of people who are either completely politically disengaged or who have informed views on social issues but see the entire political system as too corrupt/dysfunctional to bother with. There may indeed be huge political potential in this latter subset — but because it isn’t really served by the red-versus-blue hyper-political media, and because politics appears so inaccessible and so dominated by junkies, this potential goes largely untapped.

This stasis, of course, suits the professional political class just fine. After all, those who have accrued money, power and status in the existing system are more than happy for activism to be defined as tiny disempowered cadres of already-convinced zealots screaming at each other, rather than what it should be: a mass-appeal activity that focuses on direct action and that is pretty easy to incorporate into the ordinary citizen’s daily life.

Read the complete article at http://www.salon.com/2013/06/07/crush_elites_carefully_maintained_status_quo/?source=newsletter



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