When I first entered Congress almost 20 years ago, there was no such thing as e-mail, and if you wanted to get a message out to the public, you had one of four major TV networks to choose from.
Today, e-mail is on the brink of becoming passe', and your choices for communicating with the public range from four TV networks and six cable news channels to a thousand blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and whatever social media outlet is six weeks away from becoming the next new thing.
While this has made life infinitely more complicated for my communications director, it has also made the world a more democratic place. Nowadays you don't need to be a senator or a CEO or a celebrity to have a voice in the media, and if you happen to be a senator, a CEO or a celebrity, you have a thousand people each with their own respective audiences to hold you accountable. And as we all have come to learn only too well, there are plenty of senators and CEOs (maybe not celebrities) that need badly to be held to account.
It is in this new media ecosystem that we wage our national debates over critical issues like health care reform, global warming, the war in Afghanistan and the collapse of the American middle-class. In this complex and exciting landscape, democratic debate isn't just a two-way street, it's five intersecting eight lane highways.