A comment on the GOP's WebVoter
A reader comments on my post about WebVoter: Washington Post picked up the story ('Minn. GOP Asks Activists to Report on Neighbors' Politics' The Washington Post Sunday, July 18, 2004; Page A05). But I think it is a mistake to characterize it as grass-roots organizing, and a mistake to gloss over the ethical import. I certainly hope this isn't the future of grassroots poliics. What the Minn. State GOP party is asking is that its 'activist' report information of their neighbors' politics, not empowering citizens to engage in politics within their communities in any democratic way. Rather, what's happening in Minnesota is simply a more fine tuned media campaign using data of its target audience without its consent. Worse still, it intend to pass on the information it has gleaned over to the administration, porportedly to help sway the presidential election. Its a more than a little discomforting to think of some database your political beliefs collected by your neighbors, given the history (recent or otherwise) of this country.
I see this as pretty much the same thing that American Coming Together is doing with paid workers -- except the GOP is doing it with volunteers. Or am I missing something?