The recent shift in our government is maddening, to say the least — wouldn't it be amazing to be able to defy it with the push of a button? Good news: You can. Someone invented an Amazon Dash Button that donates to the ACLU with just one push. And it's kind of brilliant.
In case you aren't yet familiar with them, Amazon Dash Buttons allow Amazon Prime members to order their favorite products with just a little push. Think of it as a physical "Buy Now" button that you can stick anywhere. The product-specific, Wi Fi-powered button goes wherever you want: For instance, stick one in the kitchen and give it a little tap whenever you want to order more snack foods. There are hundreds of buttons that order and deliver your purchases within two days — think of brands like Colgate, Tide, and Emergen-C.
So what does this have to do with the American Civil Liberties Union?
Designer and programmer Nathan Pryor got the idea from a friend to design an ACLU Dash Button to donate whenever Trump does something outrageous (which is daily). It was discovered shortly after the Dash Button's 2015 release that they could be hacked and programmed to do other tasks — so Amazon made a genius move in response: In 2016, they released a customizable Dash Button called the IoT (Internet of Things) Button.
It wasn't easy, but Pryor was able to write a custom script powered by Amazon's servers and connect it to the IoT button. It automatically fills in the information you'd need to submit to make a donation — like your name, address, and credit card information. With just one push, he was able to make instant $5 donations to the ACLU. Boom. Just like that, you're protesting unjust policies in a totally new and unique way.
Right now, we're all searching for little acts of resistance to peacefully make our voices heard — not unlike the oh-so-perfect idea of donating to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name. While many of us would love this as a means to push back against the current administration, Pryor has even bigger things in mind. In an email to Bustle, he says, "I would love to see something like this become a real tool for giving, available in the name of different organizations all across the political spectrum. I think there's a lot of power in the immediacy of pushing a button in the same moment that you're inspired to give." Pryor hit the nail on the head. Too often are we fired up about something in the present, but the feeling dissipates before we act.
"Not only does it lessen the friction of donating, it can also give immense feedback to the organization you're donating to. If 10,000 people pushed to donate within 10 minutes of a certain policy announcement, while another act only inspired a trickle — or even the same number of people but spread out over a day — the organization would have a much better sense of what mattered to its donors."
The positive reaction to Pryor's ACLU button, which he refers to as a proof of concept, inspires the idea of bringing greater accessibility to something like this. "I think the reaction to it proves that it could become mainstream; there have been so many 'I need this' tweets and posts. Now, most have been followed by 'but it would bankrupt me in a week,' so some safeguards would have to be put in there. ... $5 is the minimum amount the ACLU allows to be donated, but I can see a more advanced system allowing smaller transactions."
Pryor has made the code he used available for download on GitHub so that you, too, can make your own ACLU Dash Button; he warns, though, that there are no promises of security or stability. To be extra safe, if you do make and use your own ACLU Dash Button, connect it to a prepaid credit card so that in the worst case scenario, it can never empty your bank account.