Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Election

Election Night Summary

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Matt Damon’s Birthday Wish

Working Families Party

Fanaticism vs. Fact

Why does it seem like fanaticism distorts a persons perception of reality?

Friday, The Pajama Pundit made a post on his blog that was mainly pointing out a post written by TheAmericanBoy. At some point in the day, members of the Team Sarah site, began inundating PJ?s post with comments, many of them fairly unfriendly.

The first mistake that many of the commenters made was not realizing that PJ had merely quoted a post from another blog. They attacked the post as if the posted words were PJ?s and not TheAmericanBoy. Several of the posts look like they are copied and pasted from a list of talking points.

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Electoral Ditch

Ever since the 2000 election there has been a slow building movement towards doing away with or changing the way the Electoral College system works. Maryland was the first state to do this in April 2007, although their law was conditional on other states passing similar laws. This is referred to as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Since then, Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey have also joined the compact. It now looks like Iowa may be following in this trend.

I understand the frustrations that came out of the close race of 2000. Had the compact been in place at that time Al Gore would have been our 43rd President. But doing away with the electoral college system in this way bothers me. Allowing the race for president to hinge solely on popular votes means that smaller states will have little to no say in the elections. States like California, New York, and Florida will always decide the outcome. The electoral college creates sense of equality among the states and I don?t like the idea of loosing that.

Moving Forward

The Election is over and Barrack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States. I’m very excited and happy with that result and I’m looking forward to common sense returning to Washington.

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