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RE: Choosing the Battleground
Every time I see an online petition with hundreds of thousands of e-signatures on it, I just have to laugh. God alone knows what those people think they're achieving. An utter lack of understanding on how anything real works is dooming us. The death of common sense is also to blame, though I am not sure now that it ever was alive, to begin with.
What I think every time I hear about such a petition: "Wait, do you really think that the politicians didn't KNOW that you don't like this? Do you really think they CARE that you don't? Do you really expect them to suddenly say, 'Oh, gee, we thought you WANTED this! So sorry! We will change it right away!'?" You might as well send a petition to a car-jacker, asking him not to steal your car.
How many such forms have they filled out and received a form letter reply? Do they read it. How often does the form letter thank them for standing behind their "representative" in their support of the thing they are against? "I am filling out this petition in defiance of X". FORM LETTER: "Thank you for contacting your representative. It is good that you care about your community enough to get involved. You are truly a great citizen. I am so glad that you stand behind me in my support of X, and together we can make truly great things happen."
If they talk to anyone else that also "protested" and signed a petition they will see that person received the same letter. They move on, feeling as though their actions made a difference. They tell their neighbors "I complained about this to our representative! You should too! I even received a response back."
Fifteen years ago, when online petitions weren't as common and a thousand signatures represented significant effort, I hand delivered a petition with 1500 signatures to the office of my "representative." I was led into an office where a very nice lady was answering the phones. People were calling with their concerns, and she wrote down what they said on a small piece of paper, and then put the paper in a drawer.
I waited for a lull in the phone calls, then told her what the petition was about. She listened very attentively and politely, thanked me for bringing the issue to her attention, then took the thick printout and put it in the same drawer.
At that point I realized that wad of papers represented a complete waste of time.
The weasel voted the opposite of what the petition requested. I doubt he was ever informed that it even existed.
What I especially love is those petitions that people send out to the entire country to deal with a local issue. Yeah, like the rulers in Podunk Mississippi really care about what people in Podunk Georgia think.
It gets better when you see some spread globally and targeting something Putin is doing. Like Putin is going to care what anyone, in or out of Russia, is bleating about. You'll notice very few Russian signatures on those petitions, too. They know better. And they don't want to end up in jail for acute petitionitis.