This week, liberal political and citizens' actions organization MoveOn.org sent a "Save The Internet" petition to its more than three million members.
"Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more," MoveOn.org explains to their members, "so Amazon doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.
"Many members of Congress take campaign contributions from these (telecommunications) companies, and they don't think the public are paying attention to this issue," the introductory text for the petition reads. "Let's show them we care - please sign this petition today."
I hate to tell you, when I read "let's show them we care," I get the opinion that I am reading an entreaty with all the sophistication of a seventh-grade civics class.
Let me tell you why. Many more Senators and Congressmen who oppose net neutrality tend to be of a political stripe that's against most if not all of what MoveOn.org stands for.
So if you are a Rep. Joe Barton - the telco's pet, and you see a petition hit your office's email servers that are signed by members of a "liberal" organization, are you going to think, "that may cost me votes this November, and gee, they may have a point. I need to revisit this issue."
No, no and hell no. The Joe Barton's of the world are going to think, "there goes that liberal MoveOn.org, wanting legislation that inhibits competition."
Stop all legislation that crimps the abiity for your contributors to do anything they want. That's what is really at play here.
A far better strategy for net neutrality's backers would not involve preaching to believers, or to those who for whatever reason, refuse to believe.
If it is done right, a winning entry in Jeff Pulver's Viral Marketing Contest to Save the Internet could be so much more effectual. If crafted with the right petina, such a winning entry could actually change minds.
Which MoveOn.org's petition will not.