So, I get an email in my inbox from the Obama campaign with the subject line: "Who is Barack Obama?‏". Opening it, I see a link to a video. Because I'm too lazy to read these days, I click straight to the video expecting to see a cornball, slightly over-produced video detailing some minor aspect of Obama's mid-western background. Instead, I see this:

I remember political pundit Howard Fineman complaining in one of his lesser articles that Obama has been too "meta" throughout this election. That he's been too much of a narrator and not enough of a participant (as if those two roles are inherently contradictory). Fineman's argument annoyed me at the time because it seemed, for reasons I couldn't quite articulate, utterly wrong. But it wasn't until I saw this video that I realized just how incredibly ridiculous Fineman's statement was.

This video strips away much of the pretense that inspires cynicism in politics. It demonstrates how we all--the politicians, their families, their "Joe Sixpack" supporters--are willing participants in the theatre. And by logical extension, as participants, we have the power to transform the show. Throughout his entire campaign, Obama has urged us to rid ourselves of the illusion that we're just spectators in the political process. By giving us these tiny glimpses into how the process really works, he's helping us along. We need more "meta" in our lives.

We've heard a lot about how Obama's campaign has leveraged the internet for fundraising, but this kind of video is exactly what the internet is all about (notice the mention of "new media" at the end of it). It's all about participation and narration. What would it cost a candidate to air this video on television? If Obama's manner of governance ever becomes as innovative as his manner of campaigning, it truly will be a new day in America.

Nothing New byslag at 10:42 AM

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