The objections on this thread blow my mind. "But but but what if their opponent also supports SOPA?" How about first you make sure your "alternative" candidate doesn't think we should nuke Mecca? Jiminy Christmas, if you don't already know why you support your Senate and Congressional candidates and can't be bothered to go look up their positions on real issues, please stay the hell away from the voting booth.
The problem with single-issue tech voters, is the same problem that the Asian-American solidarity movements have (such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80-20_Initiative ). We're not a large enough portion of the electorate, and we're not distributed in a manner that is consequential enough to sway an election, let alone have enough discipline to have a measurable effect.
The way you make change is you get involved in government and the way policy is made. The voting box is an incredibly coarse-grained tool to effect political change, especially in American democracy where you have one of two candidates to pick from, who've already gone through several political processes to arrive at your ballot box.
If you care about politics get involved. Don't just vote. Voting is necessary but not sufficient to effect change.
Single-issue voters are the bane of a healthy political system.
If you think voters aren't well educated, there are things you can do to help fix that. Arbitrarily voting against incumbents is unlikely to help.
That alone demonstrates why single-issue voting is a terrible idea.
In my state (Texas), I used to consider creationists an amusing sideshow, but they're now in charge, and writing their religious beliefs into textbooks. My heuristic now is that if anyone mentions "the Bible" in their election materials, run away as fast as possible, because they're likely backwards types who don't believe in a secular government. Same kinds of people who think you should get kicked out of Boy Scouts if you don't believe in God, only now they want to run the actual government, which is more dangerous.
Plus, having these medieval types in the legislature sets a bad example for American students, and embarrasses us in front of the whole world, contributing to the stereotype that Americans are uneducated: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20121006-u.s.-hous...
I'm sorry you're having a problem thinking this through. I personally can't get with someone who rejects most of what we know about geology and life sciences being in charge of federal funding for science. Rep. Broun is just one example among many from that particular committee, which also includes Todd Akin, who believes women can't become pregnant from rape, and Lamar Smith, author of SOPA.
>On October 26, 2011, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). According to its sponsor, this legislation seeks to "promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." However, this bill, and its Senate companion bill, S. 968 (the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act), would also give the U.S. Attorney General (USAG) authority to seek an injunction from a federal court against domain names used by foreign websites that actively promote or distribute counterfeit goods, as well as permitting content owners to sue the intermediate service providers that support websites hosting pirated content.
>Both of these bills would give the USAG unprecedented authority to seek out court orders against foreign internet sites that have been accused of copyright infringement. This includes websites that host user-submitted content, such as the popular websites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These and any other websites that allow comments would now be responsible for screening any and all user activity for potential infringement. This discourages innovation in the world's most fluid industry, and the United States' economic strength is dependent on its citizen's ability to create, innovate and become entrepreneurs in various industries.
>In addition to the costs of content screening, online search engines will be forced to remove the accused website from displayed search results, online advertising companies will be forced to break contracts with accused hosts, and online payment processors will be forbidden from engaging in any further transactions with the accused host. This is all carried out without any of the due process offered in present copyright infringement cases.
>The legislation is intended to protect the consumer from fraudulent medicine, counterfeited goods, and pirated data (music, photos, movies), but is too broadly written without regard for the unintended consequences. Both of these bills stand in direct conflict with established U.S. policy of internet openness and will have little impact on actual criminal online piracy, which is the target of both pieces of legislation.
I really could not have asked for a better reply to my letter, nor did I really expect one anywhere near this good. It earned Rep. Westmoreland serious brownie points in my book.
The problem is that I disagree with him on nearly everything else. He was right this time, but was wrong on e.g. mandatory arbitration as a condition of employment for federal contractors in the wake of the KBR rape scandal.
The suggestion that I should vote for him on the basis of his SOPA position alone is missing the forest for the trees.
(disclaimer: i do not live in the US, and i don't vote in elections in my home country. i'm just talking out of my ass here)
In the senate, it's 6 years.
You should vote for the best candidate.
This particular issue exists purely because of the religion, which is still prevalent in the country.
There are plenty of people in the bottom 47% (predominantly tax consumers) who vote R and in the top 53% (predominantly taxpayers) who vote D. Are they all doing it purely because of religion?
If you look around, you'll see lots of people voting for reasons other than self interest.
What makes you think that?
What makes politics difficult isn't that people don't want to iterate on government, but that people have radically different product visions. One wants to make an enterprise CRM, and the other wants to make a microblogging site for cats. That naturally leads to massive dysfunction, as you end up somewhere in the middle and people cynically playing cough politics for internal advancement since everyone's stuck in the same place with no hope for real vision or resolution.
Rhetorical change, maybe; they're also for tradition, security, the heartland, and babies.
Changing from an incumbent to a challenger is actual change, and no party is in support of that except in the specific cases that benefit their own candidates.
You should not arbitrarily vote for candidates who do not match your beliefs as part of some sort of protest.
Over here, we have a very bad municipal government, so when elections came, with a bad officialist candidate that was called a "fridge" and divided opposition, over 15% voted "none".
So far, it hasn't had much of an effect (though the governing party has taken note of it, for the next elections).
Respects the sanctity of life and will fight to uphold it. (Mar 2010)
Define marriage as between one man and one woman. (Jun 2012)
US should be drilling for oil in ANWR to reduce gas prices. (Apr 2012)
More US troops to Afghanistan--we must win this war. (Jun 2012)
The system is broken, etc. etc. Might as well play the long game.
I'd respect someone more if they strongly believed that women should have to endure that hardship, because it takes some serious principles to confront that issue and come out thinking the state should be demanding women carry hostile pregnancies to term. But your comment suggests they should just so you can keep torrenting The Avengers.
I don't want to know these things about people on HN, so I flagged this story, unflagged it, hit my keyboard a couple times, and then flagged it again.
I do, because equitable access to information through a global network is as fundamental a human right as I can imagine. Maintain the network and peoples' right to self-expression on it, and I have to believe the other problems will solve themselves.
Meanwhile, abortion is just a wedge issue, IMHO. Most threats to reproductive freedom in the US are empty ones. The GOP (and the judges they appoint) will never repeal Roe v. Wade, because as soon as they do, they will no longer be able to use it to scare up votes from the Slow Folk. Instead, they will have woken a sleeping dragon and filled it with a terrible resolve. Even the dumbest Republican legislator has got to understand that.
Likewise, same-sex marriage rights are as inevitable as Loving v. Virginia was. The Republicans screaming and yelling about it today will spend the rest of their careers trying to make people forget they ever had an opinion on the subject, just as their fathers had to do with respect to the Civil Rights movement.
In general the Religious Right has a long history of being courted with wine and roses by the GOP and then left crying at the altar. One thing you can say about social conservatives of all stripes is that they have a boundless respect for history and tradition and zero interest in learning from either.
A free Internet, however, is not an inevitability. It will have to be fought over. It's the biggest deal there is, because it can and will change things. If you don't believe that, we won't agree on much else.
Do you seriously not think any of the pro-life positions are even worth debating? And that preventing even marginal restrictions on abortion is worth killing the internet? (the partial-birth abortion ban was the biggest pro-life victory in years).
All I sense from you is anger and contempt, no intellectual engagement. That's not going to win over people who don't already agree with you.
I sympathized with Hillary Clinton's formulation that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". The new abortion-absolutism says it should be "ubiquitous, easy, and subsidized". I don't agree with that. I still find late-term abortion nauseating, and early-term abortion regretful.
Am I an evil monster for thinking this way? Am I completely beyond the pale of polite opinion? Am I not worth debating?
There is no "abortion absolutism." Abortion rights have been scaled back dramatically since Roe. That's just plain fact, and it's dishonest to imply otherwise. The battleground is now over things like notice requirements and trans-vaginal ultra-sounds for abortions during any stage of pregnancy. And indeed, the battle ground is far closer now to "protecting any sort of abortion rights at all" than it is to "ubiqtuous, easy, and subsidized." What a totally dishonest characterization of the actual facts. The abortion rate fell 30% from 1990 to 2008, and has fallen in the past four years.
Must... resist... politics...
Okay, I can't resist. No one in elected office has said that they want to subsidize abortion. They probably should (at least for early term ones), but the fact is they don't.
Nor has anyone ever argued that abortions should be "ubiquitous." Seriously: can you provide a statement from anyone, ever, who says that every woman should be forced to get abortions?
Lastly: "easy." Okay, this is probably a position genuinely and widely held throughout the Democratic Party. Abortions should be easy: you shouldn't have to go through three doctor's appointments, have a rod shoved into your vagina, and be yelled at and have your picture taken and posted online when you go to a clinic for a legal procedure. That's an accurate statement of an actually-held position, but that position is hardly beyond the pale.
In my book, abortion carries more moral importance than, say, clipping a toenail. Partial-birth abortions, while rare, were barbarous. I understand state populations that want to have waiting periods and such things.
Ideally, society should offer support and education such that fewer abortions occur.
And it makes no sense. Unless you're ideologically opposed to any sort of government subsidy, contraception has got to have the best return on a per-dollar basis.
And when the interviewer pointed out there was a 60-80% drop in the abortion rate (compared to the nat'l average) among women in St. Louis who received free contraception for three years, Yoest refused to discuss it, calling it a "red herring."
These activists can say "life begins at conception" til they're blue in the face, but every major medical organization defines pregnancy as the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. Why do we need more unwanted children in this country when it's so preventable?
Like making birth control available? That and real sex education help a lot.
This is why politics should be ruthlessly banned here. Much like the Beastmaster was destined to overthrow evil, political discussions are destined to turn sour.
Everyone has to make judgement calls with their votes, that is how democracy works. There are some people who have little interest in the internet, there are some that don't have an opinion on a woman's right to choose. This doesn't make them bad people, it just means that the issues that drive their votes are different than the ones that drive your own.
If these issues had a broad consensus they wouldn't be such big election topics. Believe it or not, there are some people voting for candidates because they are pro-life, if there weren't then candidates would not publicize their stance on the topic.
And I thought I was the only one who felt so painfully conflicted about the whole realm of politics on HN. I sometimes wish I could have HN-quality level discussions about real political issues, but I fear that's not realistic.
I like the idea of an online discussion group for political junkies like myself that is either invitation-only or aggressively monitored for civility. Maybe I'll have to make one.
We can't afford to ignore a slowly-worsening trend that hurts everyone because of issues that are rare but acutely bad.
Holy fuck I'm out of here until the election is over.
On the same token, Democrats are not going to ban guns or Religion, which is the Republican "base rattler".
I agree with Angersock that people let these types of issues get in the way of fixing the real big problems.
Well, you might say, people shouldn't legislate that way. But they do. And even if you don't follow every bill, it should be obvious to even a casual political observer that the 112th Congress has been especially contentious in this regard.
I'm pretty sure my wife would rather be water boarded than be forced to go through pregnancy and birth involuntarily. I'm not even joking.
I had no idea it was anywhere near this high. Do you have any source to back that up?
The closest thing I could find was this:
Though this site is about as biased as you can be so it's probably not the best source.
Abortion is one of the biggest issues in terms of dollar value. There are two inescapable facts of life: people will have sex, and contraception even properly used has relatively high failure rates (1-3%). The availability of reproductive services is responsible for women being able to participate in the economy as opposed to being stuck in childbearing roles as they have been historically. They are far, far more important than SOPA.
I'll observe that being pregnant does not preclude you from participating in an information economy or from working at a desk--I haven't tried that, personally, so I may be wrong. I would love to hear about how pregnancy negatively impacts information workers.
I do have issue with the "fully half" population--you can't simply suggest that all of the women are trying to conceive all the time. This seems to be intellectually dishonest.
Anyways, note that we've successfully fought for abortion rights for decades now, and trends seem to suggest that, despite the alarming ignorance of some of the population and congressmen, we will continue to do so.
SOPA (and the Patriot Act, and PIPA, and so on) represent a new threat to civil liberties and the economy (I would be unsurprised to find out that there is more money in user-generated content than birth control). We owe it to ourselves and our children to try and mitigate this threat now before it becomes an issue later.
My wife is at 9 months now. She could barely get through her finals during her first trimester. Second trimester was fine, but third trimester she has been completely exhausted. She's also chock-full of hormones that make her extremely emotional and make it hard to focus (and she is one of the most coldly rational people you'll ever meet).
> I do have issue with the "fully half" population--you can't simply suggest that all of the women are trying to conceive all the time. This seems to be intellectually dishonest.
Pretty much every woman will be sexually active through most of her life, and will be able to get pregnant for several decades of her life. While only some percentage are actually trying to conceive at any time, failure rates with contraception are substantial even when they aren't.
Also, you can't just look at the cost of pregnancy. Adoption isn't a catch-all solution in a world without abortion. Remember orphanages? That's what we had before abortions. The adoption system can absorb most unplanned babies now, but only because most unplanned pregnancies aren't carried to term. And adoption can be a huge emotional burden that along with family pressure forces women to keep their babies. Having a simple first trimester abortion is a completely different ordeal than carrying a baby to term and giving it away. As I said above, I'm pretty sure my wife would rather be waterboarded than go through a pregnancy she didn't want. And once motherhood is in the picture, the dollars-and-cents cost is astronomical. When you put a dollar figure on the direct and opportunity costs of being a mother, they're mind-boggling.
I'm curious where you stand on sterilization--if there is no desire to conceive, it might provide a more reliable form of birth control than the alternatives.
Thank you for the information about how pregnancy impacts student life. I had meant "precludes" in the strictest "not physically impossible" sense, but clearly there are side-effects that make life harder even if you can show up to work.
I haven't seriously considered it and was approaching it more from a curiosity point of view, but the reaction I got was mindblowing. You are pretty much interrogated about and judged on why you're asking about it even if the doctor has no intention to perform any such procedure on you ("it's for your own good"), and sometimes it doesn't even matter that you already have kids. One of my friends has even gone to multiple doctors to find one that would tie her tubes despite having 3 kids in a marriage going on 15 years and problems with most forms of birth control. (I have no idea how men fare in this regard.)
The other unfortunate thing is that there's still no 100% effectiveness with almost all methods of sterilization: worst case it's no better than near perfect use of the pill, best case it's just slightly better than IUDs/implants - it's a matter of arguing whether one or a couple of 9s go after 99%. The only real benefit is that it's a do-it-once-and-forget type of thing as well as something men can do, unlike IUDs that need replaced every x years or similar that are only for women.
And my 2c to politics: I don't think abortion is an edge case as it ties into a greater freedom of reproductive choice for women that make up half the US population before we even get started on how this affects their partners and families. Obama is not incorrect in saying that this is an economic and also crucial issue, as even everyday things like easy access to birth control (one less stressor for me and my partner! thank you!) are being assaulted by the super far extremist right. How serious they are shall remain to be seen (and on a state level it seems pretty serious), but as a woman I am scared shitless by the idea that a presidential candidate is included in that group of people.
This is not to say that SOPA and many, many other issues aren't also important, but absolute single-issue voting doesn't help anyone in any regard because there are plenty of non-tested, extremist, and pointlessly single minded people that support SOPA. There just is no such thing as a candidate that represents everything I care about the way I want, so I choose the one that I feel will do the least damage across more issues.
I can think of a number of negative impacts - for example I would imagine that being pregnant with a rapist's baby might cause any number of psychological (and even physiological) issues that might make concentration and work difficult. Pregnancy itself results an a number of discomforts including bloating, hemorrhoids, bleeding, nausea, and back pain that might make work difficult.
And that doesn't take into account pregnancy complications like eclampsia.
I'm worried that we've managed to conflate "Vote out the SOAP folks for being clearly wrong on this" with "Vote in the pro-lifers". I don't think that's a fair interpretation of the issue.
edit: Changed nutjobs reference to something more reasonable.
I vote for opponent to my Senator, not because I agree with her, but because I don't think the current senator represents me. If the next one does the same I will vote against her too in next election.
If I'll leave the current senator nothing will change and will still get same s*t all over again.
More importantly voting on a single issue that never even passed is dumb. Congress people tend to be older folks who don't know much about tech anyway. Supporting the bill should not be this poison pill. In fact, if anything, supporting it and then pulling support once they learned of the opposition should be celebrated as a successful execution of American politics.
Anyway: educate yourselves.
I don't know that I'll be voting for her opponent, and I don't think she has any chance of losing, but the fact that she could be such a strong proponent (she co-sponsored Protect-IP) of a law that she so clearly did not understand has put me off the idea of ever voting for her again.
I didn't mean to imply that I'm entirely a single-issue voter, merely that I'm upset enough by that error to avoid that politician. Perhaps I'd consider differently if I thought the outcome of this election were in doubt or that my single vote was significant enough to matter. As it is, I tend to regard voting as an exercise in personal satisfaction more than an act which carries weight.
minor edit for clarity
For me, the alternative is a Republican candidate, who if he wins, has the potential to change the majority of the Senate, and has taken positions I do not agree with, including reproductive rights, marriage equality, energy and global warming.
I don't agree with SOPA at all but I feel like it's something that would actually be debated. These other issues are so polarizing that it becomes majority rule and to me, that makes them more important.
Regardless, it's good to be educated about your candidates.
(I know this because I used to live in Brad Sherman's district. I never expected that area to have a competitive congressional race, and now it's the site of one of the most expensive, bewildering, and viciously competitive races in the country.)
There is almost no right choice here.
I think you should not decide for/against someone just because you agree/disagree strongly with one of their ideas.
(Note: I'm not in the U.S. and like others disagree with SOPA)
(Hint: Obama renewed Bush's PATRIOT Act when it was due to sunset.)
The seemingly commonplace idea that popular american liberals are somehow less evil than the GOP is dangerous poison.
PS: inb4 instant-runoff voting
I would call this scenario highly unlikely, if only because he'd face strong pressure from his party not to repeal it, jeopardizing everyone else's political futures in doing so.
This is one of those obnoxious political footballs that is entrenched precisely because everyone's too chickenshit to do anything about it. Republicans won't do it, because they have a rah-rah jingoistic voting base to appeal to. Democrats won't do it, because they don't want to look "soft on terrorism." And nobody wants to be the guy who repeals it right before another attack happens. So both parties are strongly disincentivized to repeal it.
In the long run, I think we'd need a grassroots movement to pressure politicians to make it a core issue.
No, it's not. It's not assuming that he is against the PATRIOT Act. I've seen no reason to believe that he is, other than the projections of his constituency. President Obama has advanced and legalized most of the encroachments on civil liberties from the Bush years, and in no way that I am aware of has he made any argument to curtail them since he was Candidate Obama.
Assigning malice to that is assuming that he believes that the PATRIOT Act is a bad thing, and that supporting it would be knowingly perpetuating a bad thing. In other words, assuming that he secretly thinks of PATRIOT as you think of PATRIOT.
(sources: Obama's stance on the NDAA, warrantless wiretapping, extrajudicial assassination, Omar Khadr, prosecutions of whistleblowers, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project)
- Take up arms in violent revolution to restore due process,
- or, -
- Flee the country and take one's productive energies and output to a place that has the rule of law.
I abhor violence in all nonconsensual forms. This summer will be five years since I left job, family, friends, native language, and significant other behind in what was easily the most difficult and taxing decision I have ever made in my life.
There are no other reasonable options now but to flee. To remain and to contribute in light of these facts is to support and enable this course of events. Don't be evil.
If you had ever looked into what tends to happen in a violent revolution, you would have found that due process is not a significant part of it, and the end result is often a dictatorship, theocracy, etc.
There is no reason to suppose that the lawless violence you advocate will ultimately result in any improvement, for anyone except 'the party' which wins the revolution.
I only mentioned it first to underscore how unreasonable and detestable it is - that is, not an option at all.
The ONLY reasonable option, given the facts, is to leave.
Germany is, in theory, a lot less free - however I have never been anywhere else that allows many of the sorts of things that are commonplace here.
I could go into many details but suffice it to say there is an interesting inverse symmetry to be found.
One handy example: asking a bank for €5000 in cash doesn't even raise an eyebrow here.
Germany is, in theory, a lot less free - however I have never been anywhere else that allows many of the sorts of things that are commonplace here.*
I have a similar understanding of China, based on several limited visits and conversations with extended family and friends there. They've got a lot of restriction in theory, but in practice, as long as you leave the oligarchy alone, they keep to themselves and ignore you.
If being a police state was enough to educate people why being a police state is bad, America wouldn't have this problem. :)
- Educate the voting public and bring them to your side
If change from within worked, it would have accomplished measurable effect within the first decade. Voting in the USA, on the federal level, is now demonstrably meaningless.
How many decades will you live there, having liberty only at the mercy and willingness of your government and its large corporations, entertaining this poisonous delusion?
The ratchet only works in one direction.
Candidates differ on concrete policy issues which have concrete consequences after elections. If you don't care about those differences, that is your affair - it does not mean that voting is 'demonstrably meaningless.'
It's not a matter of quality of life. That is the danger - the quality of life for the median citizen in the USA is nearly unmatched.
Also, the ractchet does not only work in one direction. We've had peaks of restrictions on civil liberties far worse than what we have now. E.g. alien and sedition acts, reconstruction, japanese internment, mccarthyism.
You seem to have worked yourself into a froth over nothing.
How exactly have the consequences been overblown? The Patriot Act has been used for everything EXCEPT terrorism. That was predicted and that is what happens now.
Why do you think that's true? Is that just a gut feeling, or is it based on some logic that you did not include here?
To be clear, it is far from obvious to me that what you say is true. It seems to me that change from within could potential work, despite the events of the last ten years.
Just like with schools, most people will claim that Congress is bad but have no reason NOT to support their guy because he is "the good one".
Term Limits, I am more than willing to take the bad many associate with term limits over the situation as is
What does this statement have to do with the topic being discussed?
Other than just being the usual political flamebait that people always feel compelled to sling around when discussing policitics, of course.
I am pointing out that one should live (and vote, and think, et c) based on issues vitally important to the freedoms of all humans, as these are much more life-and-death than internet censorship (and that one is huge, too).
Political flamebait is usually of the pro-/anti-skub variety. I argue that it is just that - flamebait - as we can expect near-identical behavior on the issue of basic liberties from any candidate in the US with half a prayer of being elected.
It is now time to leave. This is not a drill.
It's been a decade, and I don't see the "there" there. The PATRIOT Act was supposed to be the end of the republic, but so far it seems to have had no impact in practice.
Until there is a publicized abuse of this information - like happened with Watergate - people will not be made aware of how much our political system has been impacted. Of course the people who would like to abuse it are perfectly aware of this, and very conveniently the PATRIOT act has lots of safeguards built in to help them avoid public discussion of their actions.
In this light I find it very concerning that the NSA has argued - with a straight face - that it would violate the right to privacy of Americans for Americans to be told how many are currently being monitored.
The banking regulation amendments effectively prohibit large scale anonymous or unpopular publishing and communication/organization of effective resistance.
A shining example presently is the harassment of the social networks of Wikileaks associates and supporters. Another is the collection and use of Twitter and GSM metadata of protesters in New York.
The next time something like COINTELPRO happens, it won't have a wikipedia page for it, and those attempting to draw attention to it will be jailed indefinitely without trial.
Note that this is the same FBI that targeted Martin Luther King - but now with no sunlight. If you don't see the real, live implications of this sort of tyranny, you aren't paying attention.
The government issues over 40,000 NSLs a year, now.
What the FBI did with Martin Luther King came to light years later. Meanwhile, we're seeing their moves with regards to organizations like WikiLeaks in real time. There is far more sunlight today than there was.
National Security Letters are also wildly overblown. They are a formalization of things the FBI was already doing. With that formalization has come increased judicial oversight: the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in 2006 gave recipients subject to the gag order recourse in court.
You think if the FBI circa 1950 wanted information from you, you'd be able to go complain to a federal court?
We hear about it sometimes now because these sorts of unconstitutional actions have been specifically permitted under the guise of national security.
A case in point: TX-21, the district I live in, which is on this list. Rep. Lamar Smith will be re-elected. There is simply no chance of any other result. That didn't stop anti-SOPA campaigners, primarily from Reddit, from sinking tens of thousands of dollars into a challenger in the Republican primary - a challenger who didn't manage to get 15% of the vote. They might as well have lit the money on fire.
I don't care who represents me. I'm not interested in their personality or values, I couldn't give a fig if they're black/white, male/female, gay/straight, republican/democrat/whatever. I care about issues and how they get addressed in legislation.
So what do I do when I'm presented with someone who is pro-SOPA on one side (but also pro a bunch of stuff I like) and someone who is anti-SOPA but pro a bunch of other things I consider abhorrent?
Politics of party and politics or the personality-cult need to end.
If you don't want to spend money, you can also change your party registration. Also, write letters on actual paper. They have to be opened and filed, and have considerably more impact than phone calls, faxes, or emails. Or write an op-ed explaining why a politician's vote on some topic is wrong.
Maybe it addresses an old problem from before the information age, maybe at that point your best hope was to send someone off to represent you, someone whom you felt was in tune with your community and would do what they did with a deep understanding of who you were. Perhaps this was necessary because you couldn't hope to keep up with the news or the unfolding of events in a timely fashion.
Now this is no use to anyone, every candidate is a mess of good and bad, I want my voice to be heard on the things I believe in, not just on voting in some asshole who happens to be slightly better than some other asshole. Because the first asshole takes your vote as a mandate to pursue their full 'platform', regardless of the fact that most people voted for them simply because they had one less repellent, abhorrent policy on their manifesto.
Swiss style democracy should be spread around the world.
But all that said, money does talk and it's the best way to move the needle on a single issue - directly to the candidate if you can do it in quantity, via lobbying organization (eg the EFF) if you can't.
The main thing is that you're entering a vote that isn't being counted in the Dem or Rep column.
If you don't vote then it doesn't count against the Dems or Reps at all.
Vote whichever 3rd party is easiest on your conscience, and you'll be voting against both parties that can't responsibly work together at the moment.
This is a very big problem if one supports acta and the other one supports baning abortions or something like it, choose the smaller evil? this is stupid, the system must be changed.
If you want more options, vote during primaries. For long-term change, vote and push third-parties. Nationally, this punishes the two main parties for not representing you properly (and thus losing their vote to someone who does), and locally they actually have a chance to be elected.
We wouldn't to sacrifice some things for other things if we could be represented by a person of our choosing. And, no, I don't mean choosing between two choices someone else picked.
When you're influence gets watered down and distorted, that means other people are getting more than their fair share of the power.
And no you know how banking works.
SOPA died because its proponents wanted to avoid the controversy that was growing over it and dropped it, seeing litle upside. That is the way single-issue politics works in the US system. And the system worked, and the bill isn't law. Trying to prolong the fight at the ballot box does nothing more than make you enemies among the supporters of basically every other single-issue subject in american politics.
A really important related point is that not all issues are like this. A vote at the ballot box isn't going to do anything about SOPA or follow-on bills, but it is likely to have effects on future tax and health care policy, court appointments (hint: which party's judicial appointments are most friendly to heavy-handed internet regulation?), and (in the executive branch) the choice to engage in wars of aggression.
Don't fool yourself into being a single-issue voter. This isn't a parliamentary system.