Is this our first iElection? My iBrain scans the news sites and the blogs for signs of individual, social, and cultural shifts that might explain the turnout, the voting patterns, the new digital-media enabled political discourse that would need to precede — and might develop into — better government.
This would be a necessary first step in organizing the kind of widely dispersed, but critically important information (‘collective intelligence’) that is required to solve problems like pollution, climate change, and crop failures.
But what do I mean by an ‘iElection‘, and what is an ‘iBrain‘?
First, where does the term ‘i-anything’ seem to come from?
I-names are one form of an XRI — an OASIS open standard for digital identifiers designed for sharing resources and data across domains and applications.  I-names are human-friendly XRIs intended to be as easy as possible for people to remember and use. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-name
Ignore the acronyms; the relevant point for this diary is my claim that iThings are inherently social and place a high value on collective goods: clean water, fresh air, healthy forests, fisheries resources, and other resources that government regulates, but no individual owns . iThings require sharing wealth, rather than hoarding it. Open Standards aren’t designed for Queen Bees, they’re for workers who contribute to the life of the hive.
Arguably, an iElection is a referendum about protecting communal resources. If my hunches are correct, an iElection is a referendum on the role of government, the concentration of wealth, and the failure of government to protect what I call ‘iThings‘. In a post-Katrina, post-Wall Street bailout nation, communal resources, the role of worker bees, and the health of the social hive take precedence, because there’s a sense that the viability of the hive is in doubt. In that sense, I’d argue that this is an iElection.
But it’s also an iElection because it’s resources include: iBrokers, iMovies (uploaded as YouTubes), and iTools.
So what’s an iBroker?
On 30 October 2008, EW reports that Al Gore will help campaign for Barak Obama (and Joe Biden) in Florida. FWIW, I’ve always thought that Gore’s 2000 concession to G.W. Bush and Richard Cheney in Florida was a sign of his integrity; whoever ‘won’ that 2000 election was grasping a Pyrrhic victory with no sustainable claims to legitimate governance. G.W. Bush’s power grab showed him to be a tool of Ferenghi interests; a political swindler of the lowest rank.
But then came 9-11, to hide the political swindles of G.W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and their Think Tank minions behind a veil of respectability. Fast-forward eight years; as Bush and Cheney’s actions have been consistently revealed as amoral, their power to fundamentally alter markets, world events, alliances, or governance has evaporated. They’ve become Cautionary Tales, illustrating that amoral conduct leads to powerlessness.
Meanwhile, eight years after the disastrous Florida 2000 election — after throwing the Ring of Power into the molten volcano of the hanging chads, Al Gore has become an iBroker:a trusted third party who is trusted to help individuals and organizations share data and information.
In the last days of the November 2998 election, who is Barak Obama asking for help in Florida, in addition to Bill Clinton? Who will be with Barak Obama as people stand in line to vote? Al Gore, iBroker, who has been able to develop trust, and alliances, on a global scale.
iElections utilize iTools (i.e, web applications) designed to help people coordinate social activities on behalf of group objectives.
For the first time, voters can utilize iTools developed and given away for free, or for very little money:
Here’s hoping the iElection is a first, transformative step toward providing the kinds of collective intelligence and shared information that will better protect — and even enhance — shared public resources: healthy forests, clean water, agricultural lands, healthy herds and fishing resources.
If this turns out to be the case, the credit for this shift will extend far beyond the political guests that the talking cable heads normally interview; the credit for the tools we need, and the development talent to provide them, lie in the software sector.
Here’s hoping that after the iElection, Barak Obama asks Al Gore for guidance on how to develop more effective, inexpensive means to protect public resources and deliver services. In the eight years since Al Gore last campaigned in Florida during a presidential election, YouTube, mobile devices, and a host of other technologies have been deployed across millions of households, and the culture has changed.
But the need for moral, courageous leadership has definitely deepened.
Which is why the thought of Al Gore, iBroker in our first iElection is such a thrilling sight.
How sweet it is, then, to see Al Gore in Florida yet again: but this time, the nation may finally be ready to hear what he has to say.