photo: Wendy Copley via Flickr

Many of you have played around with some of the new social media tools here at MyFDL, submitting and accepting Friend requests, following your friends’ posts and comments using the Activity feature.

But not very many of you have tried the Groups tools. Michigan where I live, for example, only had seven members signed up under the state. The group for California — the fifth largest economy in the world — only has 13 members as of this afternoon.

Why’s this important, you might ask? Because this is a mechanism for MyFDL community members who live in the same state or congressional district to begin to organize at local level; it allows people who have elected officials, incumbents, local parties and nonprofits and ballot initiatives in common to begin to talk with one another without having to write a post about a topic. It also lets people get right to work on holding elected officials accountable.

Take for instance Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, California, a Democrat who represents the CA-31 congressional district, and who is a member of the Presidential Deficit Commission. You may know this more affectionately as the “Catfood Commission” co-chaired by DINO Erskine Bowles and by crotchety old man Alan Simpson.  . . .

It seems Rep. Becerra is actually entertaining taxing workers’ health care benefits as one means by which the federal deficit can be reduced. This is so completely against President Obama’s campaign promise to pursue tax cuts for the middle class, it’s not even funny. It’s the middle class which would pay these taxes since they typically obtain their health care through an employer’s plan; the bottom class of workers in this country typically don’t get employer-paid health care at all and are typically working part-time jobs which pay at or slightly above minimum wage.

Middle class workers are also the engine of growth in the American economy; it’s their consumption which drives us, and reductions to their income will cut into their ability to drive us forward. Perhaps this tax is only a few bucks, but middle class workers have been spending that money on housing, transportation, food, clothing, etc. where the wealthy in this country merely stick it into investment vehicles. A middle class tax increase through taxation of health care benefits will cut demand at a time when we need it the least.

This is where the My Groups tool should be used: the folks in Becerra’s district and the state of California should be calling his office and flogging him for betraying Democratic Party values as well as the President’s desire to provide tax cuts for the middle class. Ideally an issue like this would be laid out in the state and district groups, contact information provided for other group members, and folks would then leave a comment in the Groups threads indicating whether they’ve called/faxed/visited Becerra’s office and share what feedback they received from the representative’s office.

I’ve already gotten you started with some breadcrumbs left in the California group and Becerra’s district (see links following). I’d like to ask you folks who live in California or who have family living in California to join the groups, make the calls and faxes, then post feedback in the Group threads.

California Group

CA-31 Congressional District (Xavier Becerra)

Let’s try something new today; let’s use our new Groups feature and let’s hold an elected official accountable to his constituents.



Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, FDL community member since 2005, geek since birth.

Fan of science and technology, wannabe artist, decent cook, successful troublemaker and purveyor of challenging memetics whose genetics may be only nominally better.

Assistant Editor at Firedoglake and Editor at The Seminal.