Sorry, I am about a week late now, and I just noticed I hadn’t separately listed or described the 5 websites I found most valuable for my EOTO project! Well, here they are:
Title: Beliefnet Blog
Description: This blog is a collaboration by several Beliefnet staff writers. It reflects on the intersections between politics and faith — Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Muslim, and other faiths. It is a particularly valuable site in this election, as both Barack Obama and John McCain actively sought to gain the trust of religious voters. Both candidates speak of a high place that faith occupies in their lives, and both are regular church-goers.
One virtue of this site is that it offers a balanced, nuanced take on the candidates’ relationship to issues that are important to religious voters, as in the following excerpt:
I hope you can see from my description that the born alive bill was neither a slam dunk, unconstitutional, boneheaded bill (as the Obama campaign said) nor a clear, black-and-white verdict on whether you care about life. It was a gray-area dispute over how non-viable fetuses brought forth during an abortion should be treated.
Description: Here is an excerpt from the “Mission” page:
Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good is an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute that seeks to enhance the public understanding of the moral foundations of free societies by making the scholarship of the fellows and affiliated scholars of the Institute available and accessible to a general audience.
What caught my eye about this publication is the consideration given to opposing views. One day an article will be featured by pro-life Democrat Doug Kmiec making the case that abortions are best reduced through education and the alleviation of poverty; the next day an article called “Obama’s Abortion Extremism” might be featured!
Description: I had to include Facebook, as it was the starting-point of this process for me. Some would say Facebook is a place to keep in touch with friends and exchange pleasantries, nothing more. I can attest that it has been more than that for me. It has been a place to engage in productive debate that has continued for several days at a time with my friends and acquaintances.
The “notes” feature serves as a kind of blog, where many of my friends have written their political reflections at length. The “posted items” feature has served, willy-nilly, as a daily news and views source for me, especially on the candidates’ stances on social issues that are important to me.
Through the use of these two features, Facebook has provided an invaluable service of “filtering the web” for me — not just the filtering that unknown blog authors who live thousands of miles away from me do, but the very personal, palpable filtering of friends and family members.
Description: Andrew Sullivan has supported Obama from day one, been quite open about it, and has advanced rational arguments designed to “swing” undecided voters in Obama’s favor — voters who do not normally identify as liberal or Democratic. I mentioned in my first EOTO post how this blog ran a very thoughtful piece about “the redistribution of wealth,” making the case that a progressive income tax is a healthy thing for a market economy. You can agree or disagree with the argument, but it is not being written from a socialist or ultra-liberal perspective, and it shows respect for the ideas of market economics.
This blog usually generates several short snippet articles a day dealing with politics in an intelligent, well-informed manner. It is pro-Democratic overall, but is sympathetic enough to the G.O.P. that today it featured a link to a G.O.P. website that is seeking to rebuild the party through user-contributed ideas.
Description: From the website’s mission statement:
We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
This website offered “Summaries” and “Analyses” of the claims made by both candidates and their running mates in their speeches and campaign ads throughout the election. The site was helpful for me in looking up the “Born-Alive Bill” from the Illinois Senate.