THE BLOG

Yes, Transparency is a Positive Trend for Democracy

06/13/2008 04:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I don't think it's balderdash, as Jason Linkins put it, that members of Congress are twittering about their work from the House Floor.

He also says that America would be better off if our leaders resolved disputes with duels. Well, that's an enlightened way to debate policy.

Of course, lawmakers who have differing policy positions and perspectives may air their opinions about why they agree or disagree with legislation. Isn't that kind of debate indicative of a healthy democracy?

I loved watching the debate between Reps. Ryan and Culberson yesterday on my twitterstream. Not only were they giving citizens a glimpse into the process of how bills are actually debated, but they were engaging directly with others about their positions.

It's pretty terrific to hear directly from lawmakers about their positions on legislation. In this networked age, we have the technology to make it happen. By opening up the legislative process to a wider audience online, we get the ability to talk back before the bill is passed.

I don't find it offensive if live twittering from the House Floor gives Americans a glimpse into partisan bickering. Quite the opposite. The Web allows us to not only better understand what our lawmakers are doing, but to participate directly in the process ourselves. Case in point: notice all the direct responses to and fro between the lawmakers and others about policymaking.

Using the latest technology to shine a light on the legislative process, even if the process is riddled with partisan disagreements, is a much better alternative than keeping citizens in the dark about the laws that affect us all.

And, it's a much better alternative than having political opponents shoot at each other to resolve a conflict, a la Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.