Once more President Obama wades into the online breach with yet another Facebook Town Hall to solicit questions on policy from the public. The event takes place on April 20th, a.k.a. 4/20, the unofficial national cannabis holiday, without any sense of irony that these forums have been dominated by marijuana legalization questions every time the public votes on these questions.
(President Obama’s Facebook) WHAT’S HAPPENING
President Barack Obama will hold a special “Facebook Live” townhall to connect with Americans across the country.
WHERE & WHEN IT’S HAPPENING
Where? Well, everywhere! The event at Facebook’s headquarters, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg & COO Sheryl Sandberg, will be live streamed for anyone to watch. Just come back here at the right time: Wednesday, April 20 @ 1:45pm PDT / 4:45pm EDT. Unless invited to attend in person, please do not show up at Facebook HQ. You can watch and participate via the event’s live stream.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
President Obama will connect with Americans across the country to discuss the tough choices we must all make in order to put our economy on a more responsible fiscal path, while still investing in areas like innovation that will help our economy grow and make America more competitive.
HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE
Facebook will be selecting questions for President Obama to answer during the event. Submit questions now by posting them right here, on this event’s wall. As an alternative, you may submit a question via WhiteHouse.gov/facebooktownhall.
So how in the world can the president avoid what will surely be voted the number one question once again by the online democracy of Facebook? Simple… don’t let the public vote. Scott Morgan from DrugWarChronicle has the scoop:
It had become clear that as long as Obama’s forums allowed the public to vote on topics for the president to address, the top-ranked questions would be about legalizing marijuana or even ending the War on Drugs altogether. Reluctant to confront the issue further, the White House recently changed its approach and announced an April 20, 2011 event on Facebook in which participants will not be allowed to vote at all. Questions can be sent in by email or posted on the Facebook page, but Obama’s staff will make selections without any public input.
The inherently democratic, vote-powered economy of ideas on the Internet has proven to be a remarkably powerful tool for discovering content of social value. The ability to click on what you like is the currency of social media and it offers insights into public opinion that may be worth more than meets the eye. The participatory nature of a vote-driven web forum makes people care about the outcome. Advocates for a wide variety of causes are inspired to spread the word and work to make sure their issue gets votes. The Obama Administration has abandoned the process simply to silence one particular idea, but the effect will be to make the forum less interesting for everyone.
Moreover, the rise of marijuana policy into the realm of mainstream public discussion should fascinate, rather than frustrate, our political leadership. It’s a phenomenon that should at least interest our elected officials, even if they don’t yet fully understand or care that marijuana prohibition funds murder in Mexico, that innocent family pets are slaughtered in botched pot raids, that precious wilderness is being devastated by black-market marijuana manufacturing, that racism defines our marijuana arrest rates, that public servants are being corrupted before our eyes, and that we blow billions each year just to keep the situation as bad as it’s been for so long.