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Reflecting on Representation

photo from nouveller.com

Over this past trimester we have explored the workings of the United States government piece by piece.  We have studied areas from the crucial foundations of political parties to the presidency that the dream of obtaining.  Through activities and critical readings we have not only studied these areas, but also questioned the features of our rapidly changing society that affect them.  For me the most intriguing topic that I have come across in our studies is the social media’s effect on legislator’s representation.

The first document we read on this topic was Kennedy’s “The legislator as Trustee”.  After a careful analysis of this Journal we were able to understand Kennedy’s viewpoint that legislators “represent their local interests.”(pg. 177) and that though they take into consideration the views of the people,  it is their opinion that should ultimately decide their vote.

photo from nmtcouncil.com

Next we read a journal from the 1812 Commonwealth of Virginia.  This journal, titled “The Legislator as Delegate” explained their reasoning behind their view that the legislator’s had the responsibility to express the will of the people who put them there.  To the Commonwealth of Virginia, “the people have a right to instruct their representatives, that no man ought to be chosen that will not receive instructions.” (pg 184-185).

After both articles had been read and questions had been answered we were challenged with questions concerning how the two articles related to current times.  Though both of these articles were written before the time of the Internet, I found it shocking that is was the Commonwealth of Virginia that was able to predict the future role of the legislator.  The idea sharing capabilities of social media has caused legislators to become more “delegate-like” than ever before.  With 79%of the American population using the Internet, social media sites can be used as a simple random sample of the United States population.  Legislators these days are to turn to these sites to gain an understanding of the people’s view that they represent.

These sites not only help the Legislator understand his people but also the people understand their Legislator.  Sites like Propublica allow every day citizens access to a wealth of knowledge about current events and about the people that are involved in these current events.   Sites like these let voters research the way that senators and congressmen are voting and their views on specific issues such as the SOPA and PIPA bills.  This effect of social media forces Legislators to stay on their toes and realize that if they go against what the people they represent want, they will find out.  In this sense, social media causes Legislator’s to be Delegates due to the fact that if they don’t, they risk re-election and with that their career.  Another way that social media helps the people know their Legislator is through Legislators use of social media sites themselves (i.e. Facebook, Twitter…Etc.).  Take Congressman Pete Sessions, representative of the 32nd district in Texas.  His use of a Facebook page and a Twitter account allows the people he represents incite into his decisions and views and literally and figuratively to “comment” on them.

Considering the activity we did in class and the first hand experience of researching the topic, I believe that there is no question about the fact that in our modern world a Legislators duty is as a delegate.  The development of social media sites has allowed legislators to become better delegates than ever before.  These considering all of this the question must be presented, Is it even possible for a Legislator to act as a trustee anymore?

photo from cdn1.hark.com

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  1. aescobar2
    May 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

    The example you used in the third paragraph explaining how the Legislators used these certain internet sites really helped me understand, and wrap my head around your post; but I was somewhat lost in the first two paragraphs, trying to find the direction you were trying to lead your audience in. All in all, great blog post, I just think you could use 1-2 more examples of social media in representation, and your blog post will be crystal clear to your readers.

  2. kmcguire3
    May 2, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Great job Nick! Your body paragraphs are great and your examples and analysis really connect your ideas to your examples. In your first paragraph, you explain what we have done in class but only explain what you are going to be talking about in your post for one sentence then start with examples. I think you could use a few more sentences either in your first paragraph or beginning of second to guide the reader into the essay. Second, In your second paragraph last paragraph you say “computers began to be constructed but it would be another thirty years before the internet was up and running.” I think that you could put a sentence before or after that to explain it because it does not make complete sense until the rest of the paper is read. It needs a connection to social media, and also you might mention the TV and other forms of communication also. Other than a few minor things, you did a great job and your evidence is awesome!

  3. mmailliard
    May 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Good job Nick! Your post flows very well. However, I have a few small changes I hope you will consider. First, in the sentence “We have studied and areas from the crucial foundations of political parties to the presidency that the dream of obtaining” I think you can take out the “and” altogether. Secondly, all of your pictures are on the left side of your post. I think you should change the pictures around and maybe put one of the pictures in between two paragraphs in the middle. Lastly, I don’t think you have an actual thesis; you state what you are going to talk about but, you don’t say what you are going to talk about within the topic. All in all, great job Nick!

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