Posted by Zach on Monday, July 29, 2013
We regularly get asked why we decided to be an open platform with technology available for Democrats, Republicans, Independents and everyone in between.
The answer is simple – supporting free speech is the American way, and it's the right thing to do.
We don’t want to pick sides on a given issue, and even though each one of our staff members and advisors has their own partisan persuasion, and feels passionate about different issues, we believe that our individual opinions shouldn’t dictate how we provide technology to everyone.
Why should a political technology and platform company be able to dictate whether Obamacare is good policy, whether it needs to be reformed in some way, or whether it should be appealed? Why should a political technology company be able to ban one opinion, while supporting another? Where do you draw the line? Do you have to outline every policy that you support, and filter and censor differing opinions?
What do political technology companies do about issues that cross party lines? Does a partisan political technology company ban a campaign that urges more military interventions, while allowing a campaign that urges a 100% pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan? We know that when you get into issues about guns, abortion, education, civil rights, marriage equality, and a host of other important issues, it becomes harder to justify not taking a position, but we strongly believe that everyone has a right to speak out to their elected officials, and a platform that facilitates everyone getting involved is a good thing for our democracy.
Some people may ask what we do about conflicts of interest — where one organization or individual is working on one side of an issue, and another organization or individual is working on the other side — simple answer — nothing. We try to provide the same service to everyone, no matter the position they are working on, or their partisan persuasion. We would never share information provided to us by a client with anyone else, but our tool is free and open, and anyone can launch a campaign on our platform. We're not going to kick you off our platform, or delete your campaign, merely because someone working on the other side of an issue was using our platform first. We aim for consistency, and we will continue to service individuals and organizations working on a wide range of topics.
We also believe that coalitions that cross party lines are the key to getting our elected officials to take action to benefit the collective good. Is anyone surprised that our current Congress, which is one of the most partisan and divisive in history, has also passed fewer bills in 2013 than in any other Congress in modern history? We hope that by empowering all political persuasions on our platform, we’ll be better able to also empower coalition policy work, and hopefully, encourage more elected officials to work across party lines to get things done.
Free speech is more than just a philosophy; it’s also how we built our tool. Instead of charging people money to launch a calling campaign in order to speak out to their elected officials, we made the whole process free (thanks Change.org for the great business model!). We reject the notion that individual activists, and small and medium sized organizations, shouldn’t have the same calling campaign tools that are available to some enterprise organizations.
At the end of the day, we know that there are some organizations and individuals that may balk at our decision to be an open platform – we’ve heard it before; “You’re working with the enemy!” is the general complaint. We would just like to say to those people – maybe you should be more open to people with differing opinions, because even though one day you may disagree with someone on one issue, the next day they may be your ally.
Or to put it another way, we believe that the answer to speech you disagree with is more speech, not less.
Please email me at zach [at] phonebank [dot] org with any feedback.