Well ladies and gentlemen a respite from real politics can be found in fantasy politics at u4prez.com.
Now I have to tell you that active participation on u4prez does not come without frustrations of its own.
In fact sometimes it can be even more frustrating than real politics.
The premise of the site is to afford you the opportunity to run your virtual reality campaign for President of the United States and in many ways it is similar to the real thing.
To begin you simply sign up by registering in a simple process that has you pick a user I.D. and password.
I selected my user I.D by using the name of my political mentor, Jack Kemp. So I am, Kempite.
The site is free and after you have selected your own creative online user ID, you can take your time in selecting an image to use as your avatar and in crafting your political platform. Here you can create your favorite sound bite and list your favorite and least favorite Presidents as well as declare your party affiliation. My platform can be viewed, here.
The rest of your platform can be used to articulate your positions on the issues. This platform becomes your homepage of sorts and it gives people an idea as to where you stand and where you are coming from.
Once you have established your online political persona, you have to jump right in to debate. You will find debates taking place everywhere on the site. It is up to you to interject yourself into the topics and discussions that you wish to have a say in.
There are other ways to start debate on the site though such as a special section for press releases which automatically go out to your supporters.
Another forum for debate can be started by creating a caucus.
Through caucuses you can maintain an ongoing discussion on any particular issue or cause that you wish.
You can also find some more general debate by viewing the comments on individual profiles and now debate has been expanded with the introduction of a user blog section.
Here you can post a blog story and readers take it from there as they leave commentary that shreds apart the points that you try to make clear.
The more commentary and dialogue that you participate in, the higher your rating goes and the higher your rating goes, the more often you are placed in a primary against a fellow u4prez member of your party. Of course the rating is also affected by others who vote for you.
Candidates can be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 every twenty four hours. The more people like you and agree with you, the more they will extend a high rating to you. In fact owners of the site encourage members to rate one another and they encourage reviewing the platforms of fellow candidates and leaving your own commentary about them.
The logistics sound simple enough. It is not much different than running for real elected office. Get out there and try to get people to support your point of view. But the simple logistics often get complicated because of human nature and the inherent American instinct for accountability.
On u4prez, you will held accountable for everything you say and everything you say will challenged.
After awhile, the site can get personal. The level of faith that individuals involved in u4prez bring to the table is striking and they take their political beliefs to heart. For some, a challenge to their thinking is a direct blow to their hearts and they lash out.
Others view the political discourse as a challenge.
For my part, u4prez has been a terrific launching pad for ideas. As an early participant, I created the first caucus on the site and eventually I created one of the most intense and longest u4prez debates on u4prez. It involved illegal immigration and a proposal that I called Open Arms-Secure Borders.
For months the left and right of u4prez discussed every aspect of the immigration issue from amnesty to deportation to the construction of a border barrier to an open border policy. You name it, it was brought up and debated.
Probably the greatest challenge on u4prez is the same that faces any real candidate for President. How do you vehemently disagree with someone, yet still earn enough support to get elected.
That challenge has led to a great deal of creativity on u4prez and it has also led to some intense battles between candidates.
In the end, u4prez.com provides political fanatics with an forum that allows them to be heard and much like real politics, some people don’t want hear it. But just like politics, you have to find a way to make your opinion appealing and a way to overcome the apprehensions of am apprehensive electorate.
Although u4prez may not be the real thing, it does provide a real sense of just how difficult it is to reach a trustworthy consensus in America today.
Occasionally u4prez runs contests. In the past I have won their video contests where u4prez partnered up with you tube and asked candidates to produce a video ad for their campaign.
For that last contest, I produced the piece below. It highlighted the legislative initiatives that I crusaded for on u4prez.
Currently u4prez is running another contest. It is, a blog contest that offers the winning blogs cash prizes ranging from one thousand dollars for first place to 100 dollars for third place.
All in all, u4prez is a fun and creative experience in American democracy that promotes a constructive flow of ideas and sparks a rousing debate that gets the creative juices flowing while teaching you that sincere participation in politics is not as easy as it looks.
Try it out for yourself. Tell ‘em POLITICS 24/7 sent you and after registering, join my campaign, Kempite , and lets put forth the virtual reality agenda that we hope to advance in the real world.