Politics is nothing but stories. Governing, of course, is more complicated than that, but not much. But storytelling is all we’re seeing these days, stories that resonate, stories that spread… Two semi-random thoughts for Sunday:
We need more debates. Not just for President, but for every elected office and for issues as well. (Yes, politics is largely marketing.)
Here’s my idea from four years ago. I wish I had pushed it harder:
Dedicate a half hour every night during the last month to a debate series. Put it on a major channel. Or devote an entire cable channel to this, year round. Or a special section of YouTube.
Each side is invited. There is no moderator. There’s a chess clock. Each side gets 15 minutes total. While you’re talking, your clock is running, but the other side’s is not. When you’re done, her clock runs. You can talk for ten seconds or ten minutes or whatever you choose. You can ask questions of your opponent, answer questions, make a speech. Whatever you want. It could even be done from two different locations.
Every night. Thirty days.
If you don’t show up, your opponent gets the entire airtime slot.
This works best in a limited channel universe, where the airtime is actually worth something, and who knows, it’s possible this will be true in four years (but unlikely). Either way, it goes a long way to helping us find thoughtful people who can think clearly (hard to fake it for thirty nights in a row). It’s also hard to run negative, untrue ads when you know you’ll be facing her tomorrow night.
And here’s a clever way to spread ideas: printthetruth.org. Even if you disagree with what’s on the posters, it’s a fascinating bridge between the digital and the physical world. Find posters you like and print em out and distribute them. If freedom of the press belongs to whomever owns a printer, that makes everyone obligated to print something…