Web-Based Activism – Saving Our State Parks

May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm (Uncategorized)

When Rod Blagojevich was Governor of Illinois, he tried to shut down over 15 state parks and historic sites across the state, in order to cut down the state budget.  An initiative started by then-Lt. Gov Pat Quinn resulted in an impressive display of web-based activism: SaveOurStateParks.org

This website, while no longer active (the domain was taken down and is no someone’s wordpress blog, ironically), allowed visitors to sign a petition to restore the sites being closed by Blagojevich, as well as helping them locate and contact their local legislative representatives to call for the same.  It did not successfully convince the Governor to make this change, but the overwhelming support from the state’s citizens allowed Quinn and the legislature to call strongly for these changes, and when charges came up to impeach Blagojevich, he had completely lost his base of support.  This sort of online activism allowed people to better participate in democracy and the choices of their government by making their voice known.  When people like Blagojevich try to force through unpopular decisions, the internet allows people to easily make their voices heard en masse.  This form of activism replaces and improves upon real-life forums such as community meetings.  It is better because people do not have to travel or meet certain schedules in order to have their voices heard, but they can express themselves from home or the nearest computer lab.

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