Keyboard Activism Doesn't Count

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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So you’re really active on Facebook. You post links to all the latest stories. You read all the “good” polls, and you share the results with anyone who will listen. You tweet, and retweet, and re-re-tweet. And if anyone asks, you tell them you are an activist. But guess what: keyboard activism doesn’t count.

Look, I get it. I’m one of the biggest keyboard activists out there. (I run a political web site, fer cryin’ out loud.) So yeah, being active on the Book of Face and the Twitter Machine is just part of the territory.

But you know who mostly reads the stuff you and I write and share? People who already agree with us. Sure, occasionally we get a piece out where it can be seen by the larger audience. But by and large, our FB and Twitter and web audiences are people who have self-selected us to some extent.

The only way to get out of the echo chamber is to … get out of the echo chamber. I think it’s something called “the real world.” And that’s where the activism takes place.

I’ve run for office. Knocking on doors doesn’t bother me; in fact, it rather energizes me. I actually enjoy campaigning, meeting people, hearing what they have to say.

But guess what – that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to give up time reading, or writing, or watching a ball game, or cooking dinner, to go knock on doors. It’s still time out of my schedule … and time is one of the most precious commodities in my life.

I do it anyway. Why? Because I know that talking to people face-to-face is what it takes to win an election. And I want to win – not because of the game, not because I like winning the game, but because I like making a difference in the government we give ourselves, and the difference that government, run well, can make in people’s lives.

I went by the local Hillary HQ a few days ago to see how I could help with GOTV. They’ve got people in there doing phone banking, and some others doing door knocking. But you know what they asked me to do? Hang big “VOTE!” door hangers on a list of front doors they would give me. That’s it. Anyone who can walk and read an address list could do it.

THAT. That is activism. That is activism that makes a difference. That is activism that will win a race.

I’ve done two packets so far, and will do two more tomorrow. That, along with the door knocking I did for the past six weeks  probably means I will have personally touched about 750 voters in one way or another. And I didn’t have to give up my day job to do it. I just had to set aside some time to do what the campaigns needed.

You can call, even right from your home. (The systems are truly amazing and easy to use.) You can put out lit. You can deliver signs. You can make posters, hang door-hangers, stand on a street corner with a sign, drive people to the polls. And, if you’re like me and you enjoy it, you can door knock. And if you don’t enjoy it, you can go with someone who does and just record the results.

All of these are ways to be an activist. All of these are what get people elected. All of these are things anyone can do.

So get off Facebook, put down Twitter, and get involved. Even with just two days left.

I hear they’ve still got some door hanger packets down at HQ.

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Photo by Adikos


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