Commentary

Video & Politics

Politics has always been about one individual with a set of ideals that you can relate to. The person, not the party, stimulates the connection. In the past, you could rely only on television to bring words to life. Somehow, an in-person speech is more believable than words on paper, and an in-person question is more impactful than a text message or email. Basically, we can just relate better to it all when we see it with our own eyes, and hear it with our own ears.

With that in mind, I applaud what CNN and YouTube are offering America -- a way to have the individual voice heard directly by those who must use their influence responsibly while trying to gain our vote (and trust). Along with the voice come the questioner's tone, his or her expression, and, most often, a frustration with how things are, and a desire to make things better for themselves and others like them. The question might be something we wished the moderator had asked, or a question that finally gets to the heart of a personal issue.

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More important, we can see and hear every candidate's answer, and all the things that go with it. We can see candidates' passion, their uncertainty, or if they are simply trying to avoid the question with a semi-related answer. Above all else, I love watching the reaction to the really tough questions: a shift to the left, an extended pause, a false start, a well-thought-out, politically correct response, and a collective sigh by the party she or he represents. That is, unless someone has the guts to tell it like it is, giving us an opinion because s/he believes in it, even unconditionally.

Maybe at the end of it all, we'll be a little more inspired to join the debate now that we, the American people, can ask real questions about real issues and, hopefully, get real answers. The Internet offers us the opportunity to get involved and take action; to participate and make a difference; to know that we're not alone in our quest to be part of something greater; to let our presidential hopefuls know what is most important to us and to see, hear, and experience the responses as if we're sitting across from them.

If nothing else, this wouldn't be nearly as effective without video -- and American-generated video, at that. Hopefully, the CNN/YouTube experiment will lead to more votes being cast next November. Until then, we'll just have to pass the time asking, watching and judging our candidates.

So, I only have one question for you: Are you inspired?

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