The voice of the people is heard through the mouths of a few selected and elected persons. Those persons should be as clean as a hounds tooth and in order to do that there needs to be transparency. There needs to be accountability. Or soon people begin to loose faith in the concept of democracy.
The St. Petersburg Times has decided to bring to fore the tenet of accountability, on the site Politifact. They have taken over 500 promises made by Barak Obama during his election campaign, based on his recorded and reported speeches etc. Over the course of his presidency they will track these promises as Kept, Compromised, Broken, Stalled, In the works and No Action taken. Besides instilling a sense of faith in the presidency, it also pressures Obama into taking action.
Transparency in governance was one the underlying policies of his campaign. So much so that the White house has set up a website www.recovery.org, which will clearly state how the money earmarked for the stimulus package in response to the recession that has affected the American economy.
In this connected world, I really think these initiatives are very important be it for the democratic experiments being carried out in the Middle East or for young, vibrant democracies like India. Where politicians will be held to task and will be forced to follow up on their promises than just the rhetoric and nose that they spew during their election campaigns. These initiatives will bring back the importance of the power of the ballot, both in the eyes of the voter and the candidate.