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Why We Need the Dontgo Movement

Why We Need the Dontgo Movement

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Published by Walt Gilbert

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Published by: Walt Gilbert on Sep 24, 2010
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09/24/2010

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As the Republican Party goes about deciding what it's going to do in order to regain the influence itonce had, there's a subterranean movement afoot among free market, low-tax, low-regulation, pro- personal freedom activists seeking to reassert the influence their ideals once held in the GOP. Someelements are explicitly party-centered, while others have abandoned the notion that the Republicans can be changed from within and are seeking ways in which they can promote their beliefs among the voting public in order to force office seekers to come their way.The #dontgo movement is one of the latter stripe, which started as a relatively small number of activists using the social media service Twitter to broadcast updates on the floor protest among Housemembers opposed to the leadership's decision to go into summer recess before passing an energy bill.The name comes from the tag, #dontgo, which was inserted into each update to enable supporters of the protest to more easily follow the debate's progress. By entering the #dontgo identifier into Twitter'ssearch function, activists could easily follow minute-by-minute updates from people on the ground atthe site of the protest, which in many cases included House members and their staffs.Also, by using the #dontgo tag, activists from across the country were able to communicate with the people on the scene and provide feedback from the grassroots. As interest grew, a web site wasconstructed which provided an opportunity for activists to opt-in to email updates. The number of email subscribers now stands at over 30,000 – a movement in its nascent stages, set to grow as itmobilizes to set up a 50-state organization on the Web to facilitate action at the grassroots level.With the recent decline in oil prices easing the energy issue out of the national spotlight, one mightexpect a similar decline in relevance of the #dontgo movement. That would be a mistake, however.The rationale behind #dontgo has far less to do with oil and energy issues themselves than it does witha general belief that regulation and government interference in free markets exacerbates problems moreoften than it alleviates them. In the particular case of the energy bill, #dontgo fought to havegovernment restrictions on drilling lifted which contribute to high fuel prices by constricting oilsupplies.Seeing an opportunity to broadly promote free market principles, #dontgo has expanded its focus toinclude other areas where government intrusion has a negative effect on freedom. In resistingalignment with a particular political party, #dontgo has chosen to promote its ideas among the votersthemselves at the grassroots level. The underlying rationale is that entrenched powers among the political elite long ago ceased to be concerned about ideas and voter concerns and, instead, have putestablishing their own entrenchment at the top of their priority lists. This desire to grab and hold onto power at the expense of basic principles became all-too-apparent to many free market advocates duringthe massive bailout of financial institutions this fall, and is becoming more so as corporations likeGeneral Motors increasingly turn to the federal government to remedy their self-inflicted woes. Noting the effectiveness with which Democrats utilized social media and Web 2.0 to spread themessage of the Obama campaign, the #dontgo movement is currently engaged in a push to replicatethat success in promoting free markets, lower taxes, less regulation, and government transparency. Atits web site, along with signing up for the movement's email newsletter, users can view the ongoingTwitter stream that launched the movement, as well as join the #dontgo Facebook group, whichcurrently has just over 1,800 members.This is just the beginning of an overall strategy to use the latest online technology to reach voters and bring them into the process of forming an anti-tax, pro-growth, pro-individual liberty agenda. Theultimate goal is to completely reform the way agendas are shaped. The need for this was perfectly

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