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The National Conversation
Jon Lebkowsky, 25 Jul 04

A bunch of people, including yours truly, will be blogging about the Democratic National Convention this week. I was going to be on site, but couldn't make it to Boston, so I'm blogging the outside perspective (with media critique) at Greater Democracy. Aldon Hynes, David Weinberger, Jon Garfunkel and Christian Crumlish are also on the Greater Democracy blog crew for the convention, and they'll all be on site. Eric Schnure and Matt Stoller are blogging on the official DNC weblog. Dave Winer set up a site for convention bloggers with a blogroll that lists the sites that are providing coverage.

Why cover the conventions if we already know who's getting the nomination? I've heard that question, which misses the point. The real meat of the convention is in the complex daily interactions of delegates and politicians through which there is a renewal of the party's vision. That vision, for the Democratic party, will hopefully be more focused on the small-d democratic ideal than ever before. Mitch Ratcliffe and I have been working on a book called Extreme Democracy in which Mitch writes about deep confidence in the people:

Each citizen is a potential leader in a democracy; in an extreme democracy citizens needn't only join a great campaign for president or governor, but will have the tools that those campaigns have had at their fingertips to address local and international issues from a networked computer. They'll have a printing press, a campaign database that draws on public information to build voter lists quickly and accurately, the technology to support discussion and policy debates, to interact with other activists and blend their efforts, and to raise funds. Each citizen will have the choice to lead when the issue is one they care about passionately.
By bringing a bunch of bloggers, citizen journalists, together at the convention and in other realms of political process, we facilitate the kind of conversation that should be the heart of politics, a conversation among informed citizens, beyond manipulation by broadcast politicians.

So I encourage you to follow the convention blogs and post your comments this week, contributing to a national conversation about renewal of purpose.

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