Fast Company December 1999 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company 1999 Who's Fast 2000 pages 150-310 Tracy Westen "Deomocracy is an interactive form of government" (p.302-310)

I decided to tackle the cover story of Fast Company, Who's Fast 2000. What attracted me to the story is my insatiable appetite for the "underdog". The future belongs to- and is being created by- unsung heroes, rising stars where smaller and smaller groups of smart people can do bigger things. That's what makes the new economy so exhilarating. A person doesn't have to posses great wealth or work at a company of great size, to have a great impact on our colleagues, or industry, or even the world around us. The future can belong to those unsung heroes and rising starts- people who use their energy, their brains, their passion, and their commitment to their values to make a difference.

Fast Company's 2nd annual "Who's Fast" identifies 16 leaders, thinkers, and innovators that illustrate six "fast" themes-to give shape to their terrain of the new world of work. The 6th category of Social Justice drew my attention because I feel this is one category we can all contribute and benefit from. The name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government, economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental protection and human rights. In this article Fast Company identified Tracy Westen as "What's Fast". They described democracy as hard work. And Tracy Westen identifies democracy as an interactive form of government. Westen is a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication. He is the Founder and President of the Democracy Network. He describes it as, "Demoncracy at Work". In the 2000 elections, the Democracy Network ( will feature information on the main issues of every federal race, as well as on statewide races in 11 states for such elected positions as governor and attorney general, and on large number of state legislative races. All in all, the network will involve between 3,000 and 6,000 candidates. Candidates will also be able to post their positions on the DNet Web site and will be able to take part in online debates and discussions. It is the purpose of the Democracy Network to broaden and deepen the debate between the candidates. DNet is like a shopping mall for political candidates.

I can't help but think about the impression television made on politics. The Kennedy/Nixson debates were earmarked as a historical media impact. And now with the impact and changes the Internet is having on our lives. Through the Internet debates can be expanded and deepened. zIt can also provide side by side comparison of candidate's positions on a particular issue.

Westen was quoted in Fast Company by saying, "Everything worth doing has to have a positive social benefit". He believes that the Web does offer a new and important tool for changing the national political discourse. "What I do think," Westen says, "is that the Web will have a more positive effect on politics than any other technology that has come along in the past 200 years." Considering the impact the Web has made in the last few years, I would have to agree with Westen. I can only hope that those that use it always consider social justice. If we are exposed directly to an injustice or a need, we need to have the values to do something about it. The Web could provide the means to do it in with the right conscientiousness.

-- Anonymous, January 10, 2000

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