President Obama promised to use the Internet to give Americans a greater voice in government—but in keeping that promise, he’s given America’s fringe a chance to shout at him, the New York Times reports. When the administration asked for ideas on how to make the government more transparent, it was bombarded with messages about marijuana, UFOs, and Obama’s birth certificate.
“This is Obama’s Madisonian moment,” said one analyst: Where Madison sought to protect the few from the tyranny of the many, Obama must protect the many from the vocal few. On the other hand, why open the discussion if not to get non-mainstream perspectives? “The UFO thing is healthy,” said one tech blogger. “It’s weird … but it’s a democracy, and you can’t make them go away.”