Many of today's political problems could be solved if people would get off their couches, grab their video cameras, and go ask politicians tough questions to their face at their public appearances. Those tough questions would point out flaws in the policies those politicians espouse, call them on their lies, and generally hold them accountable. Their answers to those questions can then be uploaded to video sharing sites so thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people can see them.
If politicians knew that regular citizens would expose their lies and call them on their flawed policies to their face on video, fewer of them would lie and fewer of them would offer flawed policies. Please note that I'm discussing questions, not just rants. I'm also not suggesting asking questions about relatively minor personal matters, hypocrisy, and so on. Note also that I'm referring to "prosecutorial-style" questions, which is quite a bit different from what's to be found on cable TV.
Please note: what many people think of as tough questions are in fact not tough at all. Almost all of the questions (and probably every one) that were asked at townhalls in the summer of 2009 were not in any way tough: they were simply requests for information, or rants, or open-ended questions that politicians were able to deflect with ease. Most questions for politicians you'll find online are like that. The questions I'm talking about are designed to make stock replies, deflections, etc. difficult; they're designed to discredit the person being asked by revealing flaws in their arguments, the fact that they can't think things though, the fact that they're lying about important issues, and so on. Please see this page for a more detailed discussion.
Don't count on the mainstream media to ask those type of questions: they've rarely shown an interest in actually pressing politicians on issues, and almost all of them have no knowledge of specialized topics.
Regular citizens have to ask these questions. And, if for some reason you can't do it, then at the very least you can urge others to get involved.
Some possible questions are among the posts listed below. A couple examples of what not to do are here. Some examples of questions that were asked are here. And, if you want to come up with your own questions, here are some tips.
And, here's the outlines of an action plan:
1. Find a few friends and start a local group. Your focus can be on one or more local politicians or on any national politicians who come to your area.
2. Find others to join the group; use Facebook, Craigslist, local newspaper and other forums, etc.
3. Compile a list of future public events that politicians will be attending in your area.
4. Recruit one or more people to ask questions; if you can find a trial lawyer or similar that would be great.
5. Find some questions; feel free to use the ones in the posts below or use the guide linked above. I'm also willing to edit questions for maximum effectiveness.
6. Get a video camera, a Youtube account, and Windows MovieMaker.
7. Go to the event and ask the question.
8. If you get a good response, upload it to Youtube and promote it via blogs, forums, Digg, Reddit, etc.