Cross posted at: The 41st Vote.
I am degreed in Computer Information Systems. I do not make my living in the field and am not a "coder". I have always been more focused on the Business Process side of it and how do you use technology to solve a problem and improve processes. That being said, I have become active in my local party and as, you can see from this blog, activist on the web. I am determined to help bridge the gap between the GOP and the Democrat party when it comes to the use of technology. To that end I fully support the goals of Rebuild The Party, one of which is to "Recruit 5 million new Republican online activists".
Wordpress has developed into a powerful tool for activists. It is simple to setup and administer for those less technically inclined, . As a result it is ubiquitous within cyberspace. While Drupal, and to some extent, Joomla have extremely powerful widgets that can be utilized for political activism (CiviRM, Write A Newspaper etc.). Tthe added administrative overhead of those extrememly powerful platforms make them less so. I have an idea for a plug-in that could greatly empower the grassroots t impact the behavior of our elected Representatives.
In developing this blog, I have scoured the Wordpress site and the Internet looking for plug-ins that can leverage the power of my blog by making it simple for day to day people to impact a specific piece of legislation or political opinion. I am most focused on enabling people to contact their Congressman or Senator. As many of you know, the Congress has gone to great lengths to filter and make it more difficult for people to contact them. Mail suffers from delay resulting from the need to process it for biological terrorism and spam drove most of them to secrete their e-mail addresses When we capture the eyes and imagination of a member of the grassroots, we need to capitalize on that by making it simple for them to express their will immediately and in the broadest form.
To that end, I thought of a need for a plug-in that would have the following Charter:
"Empower the user to immediately respond, through all available means, to the party that can impact the desired outcome."
- The specific requirements:
- Provide an interface to a predefined template with wording that will form the basis of the communication for a specific purpose.
- Provide a method of searching for the most effective targets of that communication, specifically that constituents elected Congresman for his District and surrounding Districts within a specific radius and the Elected Senators that represent him.
- Provide for the ability to send the communication by all the following methods of transit, both individually and in concert:
- Snail Mail
- Provide access through an API, to a database, to be maintained by a sponsoring organization that will contain the e-mail contact, FAX number, telephone number and the Washington mail address for each and every member of Congress and for all of this information for each and every elected State House Member and Senator of the 50 states and the territories.
- Function as a plug-in to the Wordpress platform.
- Provide the ability to insert the title of the blog post from within which that individual was stirred to react.
- Insert the permalink of that post into the e-mail body.
- Ability to color the background of the subject line with a color determined by the blog author for visual targeting.
- Insert the e-mail of the letter submitter, simultaneously capturing that information to the blogs subscriber list.
It may be that we need to scale back the scope. That is for the coders to determine. My purpose is to place the idea into the activist community to try to stir someone to undertake the development of the plug-in. I intend to cross post this at Rebuild the Party and the attendant community sites. The database will require the largest effort I am sure, but among all of the activist out there we can reduce the manhours per individuals to collect that data. I know that the data is available for purchase, however I am unsure that it would be feasable to utilize that data within the scope of this requirment due to licensing terms. I anyone woudl like to discuss this, find me at these links Facebook or through the Action Network of the Rebuild the Party website.