Digital Democracy Essay

1492 words - 6 pages

Digital Democracy

Over the years the media has made citizens major role players in politics. Ross Perot opened eyes by putting the 1992 Election in the media and thereby allowing voters to become directly involved in politics. The Internet, the new form of mass media “has turned into a major political and media industry” (Grossman 16). Because of the rise the Internet has taken, the idea of direct democracy has risen. The foundation of direct democracy is in self-government. The claim is that the presence of the Internet will increase citizens’ involvement in political issues by allowing them access to more information. This is significant because it takes a look at the impact of technology on society and politics, as well by looking at politics from the average persons’ perspective. It is my position, however that although the Internet will make citizens more informed this would actually work to deter people from participating in politics. Through the greater establishment of community and trust among citizens will we find the desire to participate in government and politics.

Currently, our government is based on a representative form of democracy, where citizens choose representatives to make decisions on their behalf. This is a type of self-government because “by choosing those who would govern them, the people would also, in effect, be governing themselves” (Grossman 40). However, with the coming of the Internet age and a higher prospect of self-government, representative democracy could soon become obsolete, being replaced by direct democracy. Direct Democracy was first introduced by The Athenians as a form of government back in fifth century BC. Direct Democracy allowed the citizens to make the rules as well as rule themselves. Applbaum looks at the legitimacy of a direct democracy versus that of a representative government. Representative government is grounded in the Constitution. The Constitution was created to protect citizens from factious groups through the establishment of an extended republic intended to “diminish the chances that any one faction will gain majority” (Kamark & Nye 29). However, it is still possible that citizens, as the majority, will tyrannize each other (25).

Theorists contend that representative government is headed for direct democracy by way of the Internet. Essentially what will happen is that representatives will no longer be needed because citizens will be able to use the Internet to make decisions. Grossman contends that “the more power [citizens] have to control their government and to involve themselves in making its decisions, the better” (41). Over the years citizens have been obtaining information through the media, newspapers, and other forms of mass media. The issues that arise with obtaining information through these sources are that the government can easily censor them. With the Internet comes “vastly expanded capacities for data collection, for computation, and...

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