I hope that everyone had a great Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, a great Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday that you might be celebrating around this time.
Let me apologize for the lack of content over the last week or so. Last week, I learned the hard way about reinstalling drivers in the correct order after a reformat, then I got sick, and then Christmas happened.
One of the great things about having a blog is that when something starts to grind my gears, I have an outlet where I can gripe instead of using the family dinner table. This site makes life at home better for even my family members who don’t read this blog.
So what’s my new gripe? I’m getting annoyed at this whole White House Petition.
The little slogan on the front of the page nicely sums up why I have my feelings: “Giving all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.”
Look at that, the government really wants to know what we have to say!
If you’re not familiar with the process, you can go to this website, create a petition, and if 25,000 people sign it, it will be reviewed by the White House. It’s not something the White House invented themselves. Online petitions have been around for awhile. They clutter Facebook feeds and have proven themselves to be a nice way for people to feel good about themselves without actually having done anything.
What prompted this article especially were a few petitions regarding Piers Morgan. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Morgan interviewed Larry Pratt, the executive direction of Gun Owners of America, on his show. This painful-to-watch meltdown by Morgan ensued:
In response, someone created a petition to have the United States government deport Piers Morgan back to the England. I wish I could say that’s it is one of the joke petitions, but based on the language used, I’m not so sure about that. It’s also amassed over 82,000 signatures. It’s kind of funny in a sad way that the people who are out to protect their “2nd Amendment rights” and the same ones trying to remove someone from the country for practicing their “1st Amendment rights.”
This fad of petitions is getting silly. Joke petitions with less than 100 signatures are getting press time. But do you know what? The government is loving this. It couldn’t be working out better for them. They create this outlet for people to “have a say” in the government and promise to review it. People think they’re an actor in government and that their voices are being heard.
The only way they’d ever begin the legislation process for any of these ideas would be if they were already planning it and would institute the policies regardless of any petition. So while they might actually read everything they say they do, they have the same reaction to all of the ideas as the head psychologist would to the ideas put into a patient suggestion box at a mental asylum.
But when there is one that happens to suggest a new law that was being worked on by the government anyway, when the law is put into place, they can stand up and say, “The American people have spoken and we have listened!” (Remember, though, that 25,000 people made up about 0.008% of the United States population…so much for democratic decision-making.)
When you’re asked to sign an online petition, think about how much effort it takes for you to do it. That’s about the level of effect that signature is going to have on whatever you’re trying to change.