If we want to be effective in our activism in opposition to the FISA Amendments Act, then we need to think about how to influence members of Congress to vote the way that we want. Influence is created through a system of rewards and punishment. In choosing between rewards and punishment, we need to keep in mind that rewards are generally the more effective method, but they have to be communicated clearly, and associated with the behavior that we want to see repeated.
In the case of the FISA Amendments Act, we need to send a clear message that members of Congress who will vote to uphold the Constitution will be rewarded. As bloggers, we can reward those members of Congress with favorable coverage. To make the linkage clear, we need to specifically praise individual members of Congress for their votes against the FISA Amendments Act.
I’ve been working on this project myself over the last week. Every day, I write about the the good members of the House of Representatives who voted against the FISA Amendments Act, including segments from their official statements on the bill that seem particularly eloquent.
Two days ago, for example, I wrote an article about Representative Tammy Baldwin and her well-crafted speech against H.R. 6304. When I searched on Google Blogsearch for more information on Congresswoman Baldwin’s stand on this legislation, however, searching for “FISA Amendments Act” and “Tammy Baldwin”, I saw that my article was one of only two blog articles that came up.
There ought to be hundreds of such articles written about what Tammy Baldwin did for America.
How must it feel for those members of the House of Representatives who did the right thing, only to be met with silence by the progressive blogosphere? They put their necks out for us, and yet we have not given them the good coverage that they deserve. Next time, will they stick their necks out again?
We all need to step up and write the simple blog articles of thanks to the members of the House of Representatives who voted NO to H.R. 6304. There is a list of these heroes in defense of the Constitution over at the Protect America – Act! web site.
This is good, original source material to write about – the stuff bloggers should dream about. We don’t need to be part of the mainstream media’s echo chamber. We can write useful articles to communicate about particular members of Congress with their constituents about something specific. It’s up to us to spread this information – most people won’t hear about it in any other way.