Since I'm ranting today, harking to Courtney's complaint about how point and click protesting feels so futile, this fits into my thoughts on activism in the internet age. The netroots are about to launch a campaign to corner Hillary and Obama.
In a move that will up the pressure on Hillary and Barack Obama to stand firm against the Senate telecom immunity FISA bill, MoveOn and a dozen top progressive blogs will launch an all-out campaign tomorrow to pressure the two Senators into publicly declaring their support for Chris Dodd's threat to place a hold on and filibuster the bill, Election Central has learned. [...]
In another move that points to the significant degree of coordination among the top liberal blogs on the FISA issue, Green says that the following bloggers will also be directing their readers to call Hillary and Obama's offices and press them on this:DailyKos, Atrios, OpenLeft, Firedoglake, MyDD, Glenn Greenwald, Crooksandliars, AmericaBlog, Digby, Taylor Marsh
This is a good action but Courtney is probably right that it won't change the outcome. Mass mailings from auto-messagers are so common now, it's become background noise. It would be much more effective for all those hundreds of thousands of people to take the time to send a personal message from their own IP address. It would show a commitment to and knowledge of the issue and signal that it was important enough to take the three minutes to compose and send.
I think that's what it's going to take to move internet activism up to a more audible level inside the beltway. But in the interim, point and click does still matter. They may not read the letters, but you can be certain they're counting the numbers and every single click counts. If every person who reads the alerts tomorrow follows through and takes the 30 seconds to either make a call or click in to an automessage, it might not change the instant outcome, but it would make a difference.
Unfortunately, I expect too many will just click out instead, because they believe it doesn't matter. And that's just plain wrong.
Update: TPM is reporting that both Hillary and Obama have issued rather tepid pre-emptive statements in support of Dodd's filibuster in theory. Granted, it's a good response in light of the fact the the bill hasn't even been written yet but I would have preferred much stronger language against the concept of telco immunity in general.