Matthew Yglesias sums up the lessons to be learned from the SOPA/PIPA fight this week. Here’s his final point, which I think is right on!
5) Public engagement matters: One key difference between this and, say, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is that SOPA/PIPA opponents actually got in the arena and did politics instead of complaining about how this showed that politics is corrupt and stupid. It was the whole boring dreary “call your congressman, sign this petition” rigamarole. Yes, often done in creative and innovating and webby ways. But still fundamentally about the idea that citizens need to communicate their views to elected officials. Members of Congress, just like regular people, only have deep commitments to a few priorities. When they suddenly learn that they’ve mis-judged how many of their constituents care about something and which side they’re on, they’re happy to change positions.
It’s our country, but we, the people, have to own it.