Beyond attending rallies and marches protesting the various wars and occupations that the US has been involved in or supported very heavily over our lifetimes (big auuugh), there’s been a lot of ways technology has been used to give power to our voices, and organize that power in large numbers. Many groups have forms you can fill out with a pre-formatted, customizable letter that will be forwarded to your state or federal legislators, which they’ll determine based on your street address. Other web sites have created on-line petitions, making it easier to collect lists of folks supporting a cause without having to go door-to-door. But this? Oh man, this steps it up to a whole other level:
It began with a drive for 20,000 signatures at Rethink Afghanistan’s website, but folks who added their signatures were also given instructions for participating in the Facebook (Facebook) protest.
Hundreds of people have posted the following message or something very close to it to the White House page:
“President Obama, I am one of more than 20,000 signers of this petition from Rethink Afghanistan: ‘In your State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, I want you to provide a concrete exit strategy for our troops in Afghanistan that begins no later than July 2011 and which completes a withdrawal of combat troops no later than July 1, 2012.’ Petition: http://bit.ly/7romlW“
Since a protest like this asks folks to post the comment on the White House’s Facebook page, your organization doesn’t even need it’s own Facebook page to make something like this part of your campaigns!! But what really makes this genius is it makes voicing your dissent more public than a phone call or an e-mail. With those traditional forms of communicating with our legislators, it’s one voice being heard by one person. But when you post a message on your legislator’s Facebook page, anyone else who looks at the their page–more than likely other folks in your same constituency–could potentially see your comments. Taken more locally, if you (or your organization if you’re organizing a campaign) posts messages on your State Rep or City Alderman’s Facebook or Twitter pages, other constituents could potentially see your message and say to themselves “yea, that is messed up! wtf?!!”
Is this much more power than we as constituents in a governed body have ever really had before?