Monday, January 16, 2006

John Edwards

Edwards definitely lights up the room when he walks into a room. I have been reading a lot about the concept of an "electronic democracy" and how the advent of the Internet opens a window of opportunity to create a society where we can use these tools for citizen input. He has been doing great things with his website, One America. It is a great example of how our leaders could use these tools.

I'm not the type of person that likes to get signatures or pictures with the "super stars" but I thought I'd catch him when he walked in the room and just say how much I liked his website. What an eye-opening experience. Others must have had the same idea because the number of people standing around him quickly turned into a crowd of people. His "body guard" started pushing people out of the way, saying to people "Don't push, get back." He shoved me out of the way, making me go from being next in line to speak to him to about 10th or 11th. I waited and the crowds continued to grow.

I overheard what people talked to him about. One woman gushed over him about his wife's illness and asked him questions as though he was a family member. A young twenty-something girl enumerated on all the work she had done from him in North Carolina in the presidential campaign. I wondered about why these people were saying these things to him and what they hoped to accomplish? I wondered what I hoped to accomplish...

After a few minutes, the body guard starting shoving people again. His shoving upset the crowd which only made a polite situation turn ugly. He started saying, "DON'T PUSH, DON'T PUSH, GET BACK." and pushing people around for no apparent reason. I said to him, "I'm sorry but you are the only person who is pushing and shoving people." He stopped and then John Edwards turned a few seconds later and looked at me. I said to him, " I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated want you are doing with on your website and I hope continue to do more of this type of thing." I was going to ask him how to send him a video question, but by them, I felt like it was a lost cause and ended the brief encounter. He of course said, "thank you" and that was the end of it.

A few acquaintances of mine managed to get a picture with him for bragging rights I suppose. I had another friend waited to talk to with John Edwards. She overheard people asking him for money. Needless to say, this whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Why am I doing this, I keep asking myself? Does our input really matter?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Martie,
I just came across your blog while surfing. And, I'd like to say that - Yes, your input does count!

I'm sorry that this event disappointed you, however, while I can't say this about every politician, I CAN say this about John Edwards: he does care about input from everyone. Because he e-mailed me the details of a question and how to get help about it once when I asked him that at a democratic party event.

I've met him twice and one of these events was a pretty good-sized gathering and Edwards gave a 45 minute speech and then stayed on for another hour just to shake hands and talk to ppl - during which I overheard a hundred (hyperbole, of course) old ladies telling him their life stories.

Plus, he talks about what ppl say to him during his speeches - if you've read/heard them you'll know that. Nevertheless, don't let one event deter you from participating and caring about the politics of this coutnry. And I hope you get to see john edwards again in a more relaxed gathering where he has enough time to mingle with everyone.

Btw, the bodyguards ARE like that... I guess that is their job.

Lastly, you didn't give any input on his speech...