What a week it has been. Like a lot of people I was very focused on the US election for a long time. Without getting into politics too much I will say that at 11:01 when CNN called the election for Barack Obama, I cried tears of joy and relief. My country has been on a slippery decline that is frightening. I have been riveted on the news, worried about my children's future and feeling powerless to have any impact. Its not a good way to be.
For the record, for more than a decade I worked for state governors, both democratic and republican. I made policy, wrote legislation, figured out what programs should be funded and implemented those programs. I no longer work in policy and government because I burned out totally on the power plays and the blatant self interest of people in power. Let's just say my youthful optimism has been replaced by cynical distance from the day to day sausage factory that is policy making and governing. Still, I watch. I think. I shake my head and wonder.
What does all of this have to do with SL? I have watched the brouhaha over OpenSpace sims with interest. LL is our government. People flailing about in emotional response to a government policy they disagree with are met with a reworked version of the plan that they still don't like. People threaten to move to Canada...I mean other grids. Others are reluctant to criticize LL's implementation maybe because LL is their "political party" and in order to preserve their own position they don't want to make waves. Some people are simply apathetic and just want to shop and dance at the hip club du jour. I have been around long enough to know that the OpenSim debacle will pass just like age verification, the gambling ban, the banking mess, the TM fracas...there were others, I am sure.
The new OpenSpace pricing policy is not the death of Second Life but to take the analogy of the US election a step further, what can we learn from President-elect Obama's success? I think residents of SL need some way to organize ourselves. We need to find a way to represent our many divergent interests and needs to LL, in a way that makes it possible for them to hear us clearly. We need to use the tools of the Internet to help us organize. We need to act thoughtfully and not base our actions on emotion or cynical calculation. How can we make all of that happen without a resident "government," which I think would be the wrong way to go? I am not sure. Not at all sure. I do know that while LL has been ineffective in implementing policy changes that impact our lives, we have not banded together in a way that effectively moves SL forward.
And you know what I say to that? Yes we can.
"Hope" by Strawberry Holiday