I have felt guilty in the past when I deleted, without following through, emails calling me to participate in mass email campaigns such as email petitions. The campaigns supposedly organized by the UN or large human rights groups seemed fishy to me. I previously disregarded form letters from politicians, largely because they involve no effort on the part of the sender. For the same reason, I thought politicians would surely blow off form letters from constituents. If I don't care enough about an issue to compose an email of my own, would I put in the effort to express my opinion in a ballot? I recently found comfirmation for my sentiments against mass email campaigns. American politicians ignore mass emails with the blessing of the judicial system. If you suffer from deletion guilt as I once did, check out this clipping from the editors of Sojourner's Magazine.
"Is anyone listening to email activism?"
One-click activism has been a one-click failure with the Bush administration thus far. The Interior Department,for example, received 360,000 public comments (the huge majority of them sent by email) about the future of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national; 80 percent of the writers asked that the government ban the snowmobiles. Last week, however, the administration said it would let the machines continue to rumble through the parks. What gives? Public comments have carried increasingly less weight since a 1987 court ruling that gave officials permission to ignore mass mailings, such as the one generated when green advocacy encouraged their members to sign form letters about the snowmobiles. Accordingly, the administration also discarded 93 percent of the comments it received about its plans to roll back protections for roadless areas in national forests, arguing that only 7 percent of the comments were "original" and not the result of a Beltway-orchestrated campaign.