I have a hard time sticking with stuff when I read online. I have to force myself to focus, attend, finish. Often I wander off in the middle and think about recipe books I should consult or that book about deregulation (I think that's what it's about) I still want to read or whether or not I'm going to blog about how I still don't quite get short selling. But today, I made myself finish reading this post on the Daily Kos. I got to it from (where else?) Sullivan, and it begins with a quote from an article in Harper's that maybe I want to go read. (Per the Kos post it's not yet online). So I'm reading and it's about the debt and how badly the Bush administration has mangled things and then it's about propoganda and how those in power talk about how things happen and then it gets to its point: The failure of the government to manage the chaos of our country has created the potential for more democratic discussion. I read this and start to get that familiar stirring deep inside, the thing that signals maybe I feel hope? Maybe I'm a little less cynical? Maybe I'll find a way to get up and get involved?
I read on and learn that that democratic discussion isn't going to happen between people or in assembly halls or church basement or classrooms. No. It's going to happen on the Web. And I just want to hang my head because a blogger writing about how the democratic discussion is going to happen online is, in the end, just writing so much self-referential chin music.
Sure we can discuss away online, and more people than can fit on the New York Times or the Daily Beast or even Huffington Post can join in. And then? Doesn't more democratic discussion have to happen through talking out loud to other people and then to matter shouldn't it make us act? I mean, Obama didn't win just because of all those words and all that content online. He won because there were people all over the country knocking on doors and taking people to the polls. Discussion led to action. Sure, it also led to a lot of web sites and lordy knows I love the web and the blogging thing. But, really, the whole shebang can't be about the web. It just can't. It's too depressing. Isn't it?