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From: A Paper Prepared for the
By Scott London
""The perennial debate over the future of American democracy reached new heights in the wake of Ross Perot's 1992 campaign, the centerpiece of which was his notion of "electronic town halls." The idea was an evocative and appealing one: to recreate the spirited gatherings of New England townspeople on a national scale through the medium of interactive technology. When asked about the electronic town hall in a television interview, he put it this way:"
"I would create an electronic town hall where, say, every week or so we would take a single major issue to the people. We would explain it in great detail and then we would get a response from the owners of the country - the people - that could be analyzed by congressional district so that the Congress - no if's, and's and but's - would know what the people want. Then the boys running around with briefcases representing special interests would be de-horned - to use a Texas term."" Ross Perot during his 1992 Presidential campaign
A separate annotated bibliography on electronic democracy, compiled in 1994, is available here.
You are welcome to distribute this file, but please use it fairly -- don't remove my name or change my words if you quote from it. I would also appreciate hearing from you if you are interested in these issues, have corrections, or information on this subject that my be useful in my ongoing research.
Copyright 1993-2005 by Scott London. All rights reserved.
Why E-Democracy Won’t Ever Fly in the
A decade ago many pundits envisioned the
Or at the very least, non-binding national cyber-debates would guide elected leaders to follow the American peoples will. In theory the rise of the Internet and other Digital Technologies would facilitate more informed thus more involved citizens bringing about fairer and more just social policy.
“I would create an electronic town hall where, say, every week or so we would take a single major issue to the people. We would explain it in great detail and then we would get a response from the owners of the country - the people - that could be analyzed by congressional district so that the Congress - no if's, and's and but's - would know what the people want.”
As we have seen, today in 2002, while the Internet has somewhat impacted the activities of the American citizens in several areas, the vision of Ross Perot’s “e-town hall” is very, very, very far off. (Did I say "very?" I cannot emphasize this point enough.) The evolution of a formal (--and even informal--) and direct “E-Democracy” in the