The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “community

Is It This or That?

Posted on November 6, 2018

The American midterms today will be just another reminder of democracy’s strong tendency to be overly concerned over what people believe instead of what is true, to be lulled into being persuaded by perception rather than reality. Millennia ago, even Plato warned against the propensity to permit persuasion to overshadow the problem of knowledge. The distinction between blind belief and knowledge has only become more blurred  in the social media era. Take a citizenry, especially of the mass-consumer and tech savvy variety, and the potential is huge for fabrication, half-truths, misnomers, outright lies, and innuendo. While such things remain a temptation in fields like advertising, it is now a reality that politics excels at it. Why? Because such perpetrators know we are vulnerable to…

High Speed Hate

Posted on November 1, 2018

It’s no accident that the New York Timespublished a piece by Frank Bruni this week titled, “The Internet Will Be the Death of Us” directly following the murders of the 11 Jewish worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue. In its concluding paragraph, the column noted: “I don’t know exactly how we square free speech and free expression with a better policing of the Internet, but I’m certain that we need to approach that challenge with more urgency than we have mustered so far. Democracy is at stake.  So are lives.” We can no longer ignore the direct line that runs from Internet hatred to the loss of life.  But neither can we claim ignorance anymore that the haters, trolls and agitators with mendacity on their minds and…

Elections: Social Media Gets It Right When We Use It Right

Posted on October 16, 2018

Technology and elections have gone hand in hand for a long time and it hasn’t always been a comfortable fit.  When radio and television came along, so did the opportunity to put image in front of substance.  Voting machines, while quicker, became known for glitches, recounts, and recounts and hanging chads. But nothing – nothing – has confounded politics and elections the way that social media has in the last decade.  Rather than putting more meaning and information into the process, platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter have front-end loaded misinformation, hackers, trolls, “fake news” and even the commercialization of privacy. Perhaps the worst of it all is that none of us feel we can do anything about it.  Facebook and Twitter especially…

Sometimes Leaders Have to Follow

Posted on September 21, 2018

It’s never an easy or simple thing for a politician to cut across the grain of public opinion for the sake of building an even stronger community. And yet that’s what San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ron Nirenberg did, in a decision that garnered international attention. When the great behemoth that is Amazon announced it was searching for a second headquarters location, it started a bidding frenzy that saw more than 500 cities bend themselves out of shape in their bid for the prize. San Antonio appeared to be one of the favourites, since it was situated in Silicon Valley and had enjoyed a successful business partnership with Amazon for more than a decade. Nirenberg, who knows Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos personally, rocked the…

The Most Expensive Real Estate in the World

Posted on September 13, 2018

The following is a repost from a blog originally written on February 16, 2017.  It is still prescient since little seems to have changed since that time 18 months ago and citizen responsibility is required now more than ever.   Readers and viewers seem transfixed with the more extreme political movements across the world. Far from bringing the world closer together, these new developments threaten to disassociate us in ways we haven’t experienced in decades. All eyes are on politics these days. Yet something else is bubbling beneath the surface that receives little attention but which is effectively cutting off our collective ability to meet the powerful challenges facing our modern world. For over two decades we have watched as hyper-partisanship has ripped the…

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