What we have here is a failure to communicate (WARNING: Rant ahead)

As I sit on my couch and watch the ongoing Senate hearings here in Canada, I can’t help but think that Mike Duffy must wish he was actually Patrick Duffy on the TV series Dallas so many years ago.  He truly wants to step into a shower and pretend this is all just a bad dream.

I stole the title of this blog from the movie Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman.  While the statement is directed at Luke, who’s incarcerated in a rural prison, I think it so aptly applies to today’s politicians.   Politicians used to be held to a higher standard.  They were our representatives in this continually growing nation.  However recent events both at the federal and civic levels of politics has led me to be believe that we the citizens are going to have step up and force these duly elected officials back to that higher standard.  I am saddened by the fact that this idea has even had to cross my mind.  This, however, is where I believe social media can actually come in handy and play a large role in helping keep politicians honest and transparent.

Today’s politicians seem to feel less responsibility towards the people that elected them.   I really feel this is a situation that all citizens should be aware of.  We have a responsibility to remain educated on what politicians are doing while representing us on the national and local front.  We need to be involved.  We are the ones that elected them to office.  Ignorance cannot be our excuse for not knowing what is going on in this country.  So let’s use social media and technology to our advantage as citizens.

For starters, I think that every elected official needs to maintain a weekly blog. I want a current up to date list of every motion and bill they voted on, how they voted, and why they voted the way they did.  Did they ask for input from their constituency, or were they whipped into place?  They need to be held accountable for their actions and the only way I can think of this happening is through the use of social media, creating an open digital log for everyone to read.  Let’s put Foursquare too good use and have them check in at every new location they arrive at each and every day. They also need to tweet and post their status on Facebook.

To be clear, I don’t mean having staffers put out carefully crafted statements about a private members bill that their bosses are supporting.  I mean the politician has to do the daily posting, and they have to tell us everything.  Let’s have them show what transparency is really about.  I want to know how much they spent on dinner since they are paying for these things with my hard-earned money.

I think that every email sent to another minister, or member of the press needs to be posted.  All moves need to be accounted for.  Plausible deniability should no longer be allowed. However, we the citizens have to play a part in this new dynamic.  We would have to keep track of these people.  Scan, read, cross-reference, and comment on anything we think is out of place.  Look at their Facebook check-ins and follow up.  I know this all sounds a little like Big Brother in reverse, but something has to change.

A level of political scandal that this country hasn’t seen for a while is driving this rant.  While there are ongoing civic issues in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Toronto, the national scandals, most recently in the Senate, have grown to a fevered pitch here in Canada.  I think it’s time to have ALL elected officials socially state every move they make.

This of course is all tongue-in-cheek, however we need to grow our awareness of what’s happening in this nation.  I think that national political apathy has grown not only because of a lack of great leaders, but these days the politicians are so good at controlling the media and the message that the truth is not getting to the people.   This is where technology and the Internet can help the citizens of this country.  Politicians are using new media to help dominate the news cycle.  They are also using it to help garner popular opinion by skipping the gatekeepers or filters of the big media outlets.  It is now up to us to act as those filters.  Use the Internet to research all political statements.   Be sure to cultivate your opinion through the facts, not a single politically manipulated point-of-view.

We have the ability these days to be as knowledgeable as our leaders.   Let’s take up that responsibility and be better citizens of this nation.

A hat tip to my classmates for this weeks title.

Until next week
A Clockwork Techie

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