I was introduced to the website www.ruck.us yesterday through a Washington Post article. The article described a website aimed at linking the politically like-minded. It described a site dedicated to creating an online space beyond the reach of parties, a political Facebook of sorts, so that the like minded may get together and I dunno, cause a ruckus. The idea intrigued me greatly, and on the face of it, moving America (or anywhere) beyond parties, and creating greater involvement for independents, is a brilliant idea. But being politically involved shouldn’t be about isolating yourself with only those you agree with, purely to achieve an agenda. Real political activism shouldn’t be about an agenda at all. It should be about confronting those who disagree with you, having a legitimate debate, and working out what’s in the best interest of everyone collectively.
The FAQ section of the website provides a few gems for thought.
This is the explanation of the intention of the site:
“The two-party political system is broken and out-dated. It doesn’t give us enough options to be represented or opportunity to make a difference.
Ruck.us changes this by helping you find politically like-minded people, form Rucks around the issues you care about, and take action together to support your cause.”
And this is the explanation of how it works:
“Simply answer a few thought-provoking questions about your views, politics, and values and Ruck.us will recommend like-minded people and Rucks (groups created by members around specific issues). Find others who are equally passionate about your issues, support the rucks that most interest you, and then share ideas and take action together.”
Granted I have not joined or tested the site, but from the descriptions and video on the website, I cannot see how this could be any better than the traditional party platforms. The current problem with America’s two party system is that everyone is segregated into two opposing camps that shout past each other. If this website, that purports to move the discussion beyond isolated parties, does little more than segregate people into the like minded, how can it accomplish its goal?
I like the idea of a common space online where people who are politically minded can go and meet up and discuss, but I don’t like that it is segregated. Granted, I doubt an unsegregated version of this site would work, it would probably just turn into a massive flame fest; full of the most ideologically extreme among us, and the genuine discussion would not last long. But this is not a solution either.