Monday, May 28, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Should Read "The Irony of Democracy"

I just got an email from a friend and about Cindy Sheehan -- the anti-war activist who's campaign was launched by the death of her son Casey in the Iraq War -- wrote a diary in the Daily Kos called "Good Riddance Attention Whore" and which outlines her displeasure with not just Republicans who are for the war, but Democrats who've also voted in such a way as to keep the effort going, and states that she's giving up her protest.

Cindy writes...

"I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a "tool" of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our "two-party" system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong."

Apparently Cindy never read "The Irony Of Democracy." This class book by Thomas Dye and L. Harmon Ziglar was introduced to me while I was a freshman at The University of Texas at Arlington. The basic premise of the Dye / Ziglar book is that America's ran by elitists and elite networks. These associations are formed in various ways mostly college-based, and solidify more for those who step into the poltical arena. These groupings are more powerful than parties, which explains how some Democrats could side with Republicans in voting for funding for The Iraq War.

"Elites are the few who have power, the masses are the many who do not" says Dye and Ziglar. And if you think about it, they're totally correct. We put a small set of people in office to make laws for us, so it should come as no surprise that that small gathering of people as its own outcome which at times runs counter to pure democracy.

What bothers me is that many people just don't get how our society is becoming even more divided in this way with the growth of the Internet. The Digital Divide is still a large problem, and it becomes more wide-spread with every new Web 2.0 application. There are many, including supposedly smart marketing people, who can't even define the term Web 2.0 I'm serious.

A recent survey (also reported in Marketing News) by Market Tools, reported that nearly 80% of marketers have no clue what Web 2.0 is.

I increasingly find that many supposedly well-educated Americans have no idea of the power of the Internet let alone how it can positively and negatively impact their lives and business objectives. Thus, they're rendered as much a part of the masses as anyone, and leave a growing set of aspects of society foreign to them, even as they don't know what they're missing. It's tragic. Plus, it's creating a whole class of Internet Elites -- the more things change, the more they remain the same.

So Cindy, and anyone in the American Marketing Association, read The Irony Of Democracy, before it's too late!