Brian Gordon is a Canadian Green Party member and candidate trained by Al Gore to present An Inconvenient Truth.
Though it’s not obvious yet. But we have seen the beginnings. I’m not talking about a technological revolution, but a social one, and the convergence of current technology is providing the means, while millions of people who want a better future are providing the fuel.
Remember the millions who protested U.S. plans to invade Iraq? The U.S. invaded anyway, and many wrote off that protest as ineffective. Then came Ron Paul and Barack Obama, both of whom have raised fantastic sums of money online – from real people, not corporations. Most of Mr. Obama’s millions have come in donations of less than $200.
Now, a smaller example: a marketing company in Vancouver, Canada, persuaded a major telecom company to give away ‘free’ cell phones to teens – free because the teens agreed to accept ads on their phones. To show the power the marketing company wielded, they got thousands of the teens to go to a lacrosse game, and at a key point sent them all a text message to stand up and yell, which they did.
One more: you may have heard of the Anonymous protests against Scientology, in which Anonymous activists coordinate a protest via the Internet, and as much as the Church of Scientology would like to track them down, they cannot because Anonymous is, well anonymous.
Are you seeing where I’m going yet?
I hope so, but if not, today I was privileged to witness yet another example in action. And it all started with an American reporter asking a simple, obvious question that no other reporter had the courage to ask. Helen Thomas asked the White House Press Secretary how she reconciled the “credibility gap” between Mr. Bush saying “we do not torture” and the recent admission that he did sign off on torture. Ms. Thomas got no support from her colleagues, and turned to them and said in frustration, “Where is everybody? For God’s sakes.”
That small step toward reclaiming democracy in the United States was picked up by Redditors on reddit.com, a media integrator. The users made it a top story – and then went one step further: one man suggested sending Helen flowers to thank her. Within a few hours, they had about $500 and many individuals had also sent flowers. The flower collection became it’s own story and is now #1 on Reddit. They sent it to Digg, where it is also climbing fast.
The power is not with the marketing companies. It is not with Barack Obama, or the media, or the Church of anything. It is not even with the U.S. government. The power has returned to the people, but they – we – are just awakening to this new reality.