Thursday, January 22, 2009

DipNote love continues

DipNote has a post up inviting suggestions for foreign policy priorities.

I started reading through the comments, but I had to stop. I discovered, see, that while the commentariat at the more wonky political blogs that I tend to read (as opposed to less wonky and more big-name, like Politico and DKos, which I don't really read) generally self-select to be intelligent and knowledgeable, the commentariat at an Official Government Blog is going to be...less self-selecting.

This isn't to say that the thread is full of trolls (though there was one bit of KEEP GITMO OPEN spam) or people writing in ALL CAPS ABOUT RANDOM CRAP (cf. Gitmo spam)--it's not. For the most part, from what I read, it's people writing in good faith, trying to answer the question. That's wonderful. And regardless of the quality of the feedback and whether it's taken very much into account--I rather doubt it'll set much of State's agenda going forward--it's a great thing to be doing.

Mostly, I was just struck by how little sense people seemed to have of what "foreign policy" means in terms of the State Department's jurisdiction. It does not mean immigration policy. Depending on what exactly you want to talk about, it doesn't necessarily mean the War on Drugs, even when we're talking about crossing into Latin America, and certainly not when we're talking about federal criminal penalties for marijuana. It definitely does not mean anything to do with education policy.

Like I said, it was surprising. However, there were also some great thoughts there too and, it seemed, impressive individuals (oh hai 17-year-old abolitionist who has started two organizations and been working since the age of 12). It's worth taking a look just to see what's on people's minds.

Also, it really depresses me when people still fail to spell things like Hamas or Barack. On the other hand, it makes me smile to see an American living in Kuwait abbreviate the country as "q8". This is why DipNote > Briefing Room.

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