If you’ve ever watched C-span, you might have noticed that before a representative has the floor the camera pans to show how many people are actually in the room. This technique is something insiders lovingly refer to as Gingriching because roughly a decade ago many politicians, Newt Gingrich especially, would often utilize an empty congressional chamber in the middle of the night to give some grandiose speech to an empty room. The speech would play the next day on C-span, and the representative could use whatever soundbites or clips to gain favor with constituents. The introduction of C-span was supposed to allow for more transparency and accountability on the part of politicians, and in many ways it has. It would, however, be dangerous to assume that since these meetings are televised we know exactly what is going on with policy. When you are able to see it, it’s a performance, and any actual dealing is being done behind closed doors. In The Circle, transparency appears to eliminate secrecy. The problem is, there will always be a way to circumvent technology. We discussed in class that even if a politician isn’t the one directly negotiating behind closed doors, there would certainly be someone doing that on his or her behalf. The only way to assure total accountability is to monitor absolutely everything someone is doing, which should seem terrifying. Even so, if there somehow was a way for total accountability without that kind of intrusion we would likely be left with a pretty subpar group of potential representatives. Often, people who desire to be politicians are the last people we would want to be politicians. With this total transparency, what kind of person might actually volunteer? There is a lot to be said for the fact that almost everyone in government went to school to become a politician. There are very few doctors, engineers, scientists, or writers. We already have enough issues with being adequately represented, and total transparency might in fact exacerbate the problem. Is someone who would willingly be monitored someone we would want making critical decisions?
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