August 21, 2003
Some alternate thoughts for Flood the Zone Friday

I am planning on taking part in Flood the Zone Friday, an activity which I recommend for you as well. However, before you put metaphorical pen to paper, read what Lisa English has to say about activism and and sabotage.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the "purpose" that's been articulated in this instance. Bottom line: I sure as hell wish that the same energy put into "sabotage" - would be channeled pro actively into any number of virtual Liberal crusades that are going on right now. Crusades, mind you...that many bloggers are missing out on because it is certainly a sexier write, and a sexier read, to focus on the poli-virtual tit for partisan tat. Crusades like swamping our legislators with faxes for an end to Ashcroftian Justice in Patriot I and the latest version 2.0. - both of which are currently being promoted on the Attorney General's "Victory Tour." Or how about organized cries of outrage for a threatened presidential veto of rolled back media rules?

There are many others - campaigns that could use the assistance of those who have readerships whose attention they've already captured.

I believe that the Internet is a gift to the process of activism. I think we should use this gift wisely. With men like John Ashcroft pursuing an agenda of legal intolerance, we might one day waken to the sweeping crush of online dissent. I think it behooves us to right now, this very moment, take advantage of the medium...loudly, forcefully and frequently. I think we need to get our side accustomed to seeing solutions instead of road blocks. Granted, these are mighty troubling political times, but we need to believe that change can be virtually and legitimately effected: the media concentration issue proved that we've the power to move mountains - and funny damn thing...we didn't require sabotage, just a dedicated and coordinated drive to do the correct thing.

I think "sabotage" is too strong a word - "mischief" seems closer to the mark to me - but Lisa's basic point is correct and very important. In the grand scheme of things, using to send snarky letters to editors is to effecting real change as collecting pull tabs is to kidney dialysis. Whether we look back on this little adventure as a success or not, consider supplementing the experience by checking out one or two of the many fine causes that Lisa has linked on the lower left of her blog, or by throwing a few coins at MoveOn to help fund their Defend Democracy ad campaign. You'll be glad you did.

By the way, if this exercise does feel like "sabotage" to you, then consider merely using the GeorgeWBush page for inspiration and media contact addresses, and send your missives via your own email account. Or what the heck, why not get medieval and print something out to send via the snail mail system. I think my mother-in-law still has an IBM Selectric I can borrow, maybe even some carbon paper, too. I mean hey, the 21st Century hasn't been all it's been cracked up to be so far, right?

Anyway, I don't think speed is critical here, so get your message out by whatever means are suitable to you. The message is more important than the medium.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 21, 2003 to The making of the President | TrackBack

I really don't see the "sabotage" here at all, and the mischeif quotient is pretty small, too. Bush spent a bit of his $1/4 billion projected war chest on that incredible web site. They've got all these freely available tools for contacting the media. Doesn't hurt them for us to use it. Everytime we go there, we are hit with the Bush message, which is what the site was built for. They'd approve of that. I don't think part of the plan was sending "snarky" messages - I'd strongly advise against that, no matter where you get your contact information from, because nobody is going to listen to people just being jerks. But the plan (as I understand it) is just like looking up a book at Amazon and then buying it at Barnes & Noble. If Amazon doesn't like it they should have a crappier website. Plus, it gets people motivated to do something, big or small. It's just kind of funny that the Republicans are helping us out so much.

Posted by: Andrew Northrup on August 21, 2003 8:35 PM

I read Lisa's post and thought she was right to call attention to other ongoing internet activism. But I disagree that this is sabotage, Yglesias' comment notwithstanding. Its just a bunch of people saying what they think, using tools available to anyone who has internet access.

Posted by: hope on August 21, 2003 11:00 PM

It is hilarious to me that the one-time "progressives" have become the reactionaries.

Lisa's right -- it would be nice to see the opposition start pushing ideas and its own vision. This from someone on the other side who, as much fun as it is to watch the Democrats implode, thinks that the republic benefits from more vigorous competition in the realm of policy and ideas than this.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on August 22, 2003 8:27 AM