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[Discuss] Effort to repeal Mass Tax on Software Services

On Mon, Aug 05, 2013 at 07:25:52AM -0400, dan at wrote:
> In a face-to-face exchange over proposed changes to our zoning law
> (to curb over-building), these were the exact words from the Mayor
> of "our fair city":
>   You're right, but irrelevant; you don't deliver any votes.
> That was educational and factual.  Petitions, to be effective,
> need to be like tracer bullets for artillery to follow.  

This is pretty much why I asked the question.  My impression is that
these petitions "don't deliver any votes."  Or, more importantly, they
are perceived by politicians as such.  AFAICT the main purpose they
serve is to make people feel like they are doing something without
requiring any effort. 

I'm not suggesting that taking political action is always fruitless
(though, I do think there are real cases where expending even
tremendous effort will get you exactly nothing), but from your and
other second hand accounts I have heard, these petitions seem a waste
of time (not that they require much of your time, which is sort of the
point).  I've spoken to people more involved in politics than I, and
they pretty much universally have said that if you want your
legislators to take note of you and your cause, you need to do it in
person, by telephone, or in writing (clicking a box that says you
agree is not the same thing as writing a personalized letter).
Preferably hand-writing; typed letters leave the impression that they
are form letters (and they often are), and these generally are thrown
in the trash without any consideration.  Written letters show that you
care enough to spend some time taking real action for what you

It was probably put in more diplomatic terms to me, but the idea was
that if you can not be bothered to make a real effort to be heard
(about an issue purportedly of great import to you), you're probably
not really likely to show up at the polls, and therefore you are not
worth any consideration.  Much like your quote from the mayor.

"Decisions are made by those who show up."

As an aside...

Sometimes even THAT is not enough.  I participated in a rally at the
State House years and years ago when state tuitions first (or so WE
thought, anyway) started to get outrageous.  I actually spoke with an
aide to Mike Dukakis (rather than just standing around with a sign),
and he basically told us we were wasting our time: there was no money
for state-supported education and no one wanted to fund it.  [I'm
oversimplifying slightly for brevity and because the years have dulled
my memory of the conversation, but that was the gist of it.]

I did vote in that election, but it was the last time I ever bothered.
I've found that I rarely care enough to make it worth waiting in line
(often enough, I don't like ANY of the options), and on those rare
occasions when I do care enough, my choice is either already a
shoe-in, or it has no hope.

Derek D. Martin   GPG Key ID: 0xDFBEAD02
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