Before the first debate, Twitter launched a new page on their site dedicated to a constant stream of twitter posts related to the 2008 election.
Honestly, I am kind of excited about it. It’s interesting to watch (even though it goes faster than I can read, usually). I guess I should say, actually, that I am excited about it’s potential.
Twitter is a very big change in the way media is experienced, yet their site only includes tweets about McCain, Palin, Obama or Biden. This seems like a lost opportunity to make a gesture towards making our American democracy a tiny bit closer to the supposed democracy it claims to be.
Twitter should add filters for all candidates for president who have gained ballot access on enough states to theoretically win the election. This means a filter for Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, and Ralph Nader as an independent.
In order to voice this opinion on the election page, I had to make a tweet with the word “palin” in it.
The capitalist press does not give any coverage to these candidates because, well, they’re capitalists. At worst, they are in cahoots with the major parties, and at best, they don’t want to dedicate the time and money to these candidates who can’t win and who don’t poll well (of course, that’s because they don’t get press…chicken and egg). They do not even cover the hardships candidates have to go through to get onto ballots (my candidate is not even on the ballot in my home state of Missouri) or their calls to be included in the debates. Of course they don’t question these things. These news corporations make a freaking killing on the two party system pageant as it is. Why do anything that would make it less of a pageant and grand illusion of choice?
But Twitter can make a small gesture to change this. They can continue to lead a change in media by questioning the idiotic standards set by these old-fashioned conglomerates. Twitter should not simply aim to be a new way to look at the same old political and news landscape set by corporate media. It should be a breath of fresh air for voices who can’t get a word in on those other mediums.
Don’t worry, Obama will still dominate the elections page, even after these other filters are added. Most conversation will still be about the two major parties. But every once in a while, you’ll get news or commentary on Cynthia McKinney riling up a bunch of angry, disillusioned people at a rally with her logic and desire for actual justice. And some people will stop and think, “Why am I not voting for her again?”
A quick note about Cynthia McKinney. I was at the rally above in Denver before the DNC, and it was really great to see a presidential candidate who I really felt compelled by. Also, Rosa Clemente, her VP choice, was even better to listen to. During a quick set by Dead Prez, McKinney was in the crowd dancing with the rest of us. I decided right then that I cannot vote for anyone who does not dance to hip hop. Later, after a long day of protests and a very successful reclaim the streets march, McKinney was hanging out with us at Food Not Bombs in Civic Center Park just talking and chilling. She was just about everything I wish our democracy could be.
So tweet your support of the inclusion of alternative parties on the twitter elections page. Maybe use the hashtag #open in the post. And work in either biden, palin, obama or mccain so that it ends up on the actual elections page feed.
Our democracy should not, after all, look like this: