Moving the Needle

December 18, 2007 on 12:42 pm

Moving the needle. That’s newspeak for having an impact. I expect its origin dates to early daytime TV. Here Heartline host Warren Hull listened with his unique blend of compassion and enthusiasm as contestants told of their troubles and woes. At show’s end, he would raise his hand above each so the studio audience could express its sympathy and support by clapping their hands, the intensity of which would register on a sound meter whose needle measured the noise in decibels. Who ever moved the needle most got to take home a Motorola TV, and maybe a Maytag washer/dryer in the bargain.

In politics, for Independents, moving the needle is tougher than for political partisans. We traditionally come late to the show and end up standing in the back where we have to clap extra hard and loud if we expect to have any impact on the needle. That’s how it used to be anyway. Now it’s different. Now the Independent is no further from the nearest web port to sites and blogs whose design and purpose is to facilitate and expedite finding out anything we want to know. As for clapping, we are encouraged to say what we think, to participate. That’s how things work today. It’s how we get to play.

Political activism used to be a largely partisan process. No longer. The emergence of candidate-driven national political campaigns and the rise of interest groups on every conceivable issue as amplified by the explosive growth of the internet, have combined to open the door to all. To have impact, however, their voices and views need venue and structure.

IDn wants to facilitate this process for the Independent. The venue will be our blog, which can expand to meet the needs of all those wishing to speak. For structure will, we’ll start with a list of issues on which to comment. To provide focus, some limit is needed in this and we propose the following to start:

The Economy/Budget




Iraq/Iran/Middle East


Social Security  

IDn will not take positions on any of these issues. Our role will be to facilitate our readers’ exploration and understanding of them from the Independent’s perspective. Next is the reader’s turning these views into action by participation in appropriate fora, supporting in voice and resources those candidates whose views are closest to their own. The last step, of course, is voting their views in November.

It comes down to this: If you don’t speak up now, don’t expect to have much of a voice later. Time is short. Your choices in November could well be determined within nine weeks from today, maybe sooner.


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