With less than a month before election day, the upper echelons of an unpopular congress are rallying voters through their own personalized profiles on Facebook.com, the wildly popular social networking site restricted to High School and University students. A website typically understood as a borderline creepy forum for confirming new friendships, announcing weekend party plans and stalking hot acquaintances is now a legitimatized platform for down-to-earth, middle-aged legislators (read: computer illiterate) to interact with youth constituents on their own turf. Maybe you’d find the results a bit contrived.
New York’s Junior Senator Hillary Clinton tags “Chappaqua, NY” as her hometown, Democratic Presidential hopeful Evan Bayh’s “interests” include “Middle Class,” “War On Terror” and “Grater’s Black Raspberry Ice Cream,” while Pennsylvania’s politically doomed senatorial incumbent Rick Santorum lists and sporadically capitalizes his favorite campaign issues like “Stay in Iraq until the Job is Done,” “Free Trade IS Fair Trade,” and “Build a fence to protect our borders!” Ali G himself could not have done a better job sapping the self-respect away from our nation’s top-ranking dignitaries.
The feature is buried under the workplace category “Election 2006,” and to its credit, does offer Facebook members an opportunity to interact with over 500 members of and aspirants to the world’s most powerful legislative body. Students can send messages to candidates, identify them in their personal snapshots, and invite the chair of their favorite subcommittee to a make-out party. Moreover, once a user pledges support for a particular politician, they can freely comment on the bottom half of that politician’s profile; such that flippant college students are savagely dissing Hillary Clinton on her own website as we speak, while Facebook users of any persuasion can see for themselves what kind of Virginia Tech Scholar fervently supports Senator George Allen. As one student writes, “George Allen is not a rascist…Even if he was, I’d still vote for him!!” [sic]. Not since the’Macaca’ bombshell has the internet lent such prestige and decorum to our political processes.