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View Diary: Where Are The Activists? I'm Only Getting Petition-Signing Emails (86 comments)

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  •  I think Ray agrees (10+ / 0-)

    Per Ray,  "But I scratch my head about this form of activism.  If the entire system of government is a putrid swamp of corruption, what good do these petitions do?  So okay, if any given petition is signed by 2 million people, and the petitions are submitted to The Powers That Be (sometimes with much fanfare in front of the White House), what has that accomplished?"
    I've signed those same petitions and most likely will continue to do so.  However, what I gather from Ray, he's is taking it to the next level.

    Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.—Greg King

    by Pinto Pony on Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:07:45 PM PDT

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    •  If Ray and I agree on anything, that's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, emelyn, CroneWit

      practically a miracle. Petitions are a waste of time, but they may actually be worse than doing nothing. When people do nothing, they remain aware of that fact, and may be more inclined to actually do something if and when they get an opportunity. But people who've signed a petitions actually think they've done something, so are going to be that much less inclined to do anything more. There is just no way that petitions should be included on a list of "activist" activities. They are the opposite of active.

      •  It is a miracle indeed. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pinto Pony, Chi
      •  I have to disagree doc2 (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, Avila, marina, BigAlinWashSt, Lujane

        There are times when you are only physically able to "sign petitions", and if that makes some folks feel they are engaging in the system, I'm also fine with that.  I've seen people waiting for hours in line to vote.  Those same people elected President Obama to the Presidency twice.  Some are in wheelchairs, some have to carry chairs to rest.  That's what makes us, we all do our part and none of our efforts are small IMO.

        Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.—Greg King

        by Pinto Pony on Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:29:16 PM PDT

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        •  As typical with defenses of petitions, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, emelyn

          you offer no real facts demonstrating their value. Making people feel good by signing them is not an argument supporting the contention that they have value in terms of producing change. I agree with you that petitions have a value in making people feel good that they've done something. The problem for me is that I know they haven't. It's a scam - a victimless scam, but a scam nevertheless.

          •  Personally, I gave up on petitions (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Free Jazz at High Noon, Lujane, Byrnt

            after some time of diligently signing them.  I quite responding to them once I came to the conclusion that (1) they were primarily donation requests, framed as 'take action' and (2) signing one petition gained me about 3-5 new petition-senders.

            Petition senders are also remarkably persistent.  After un-subscribing multiple times from several lists, only to find another 3-4 petitions/day, I began marking them as spam.

            Here's an idea I'l like people to think about, particularly in regard to communicating with Congress:  Why does no one use postcard campaigns?  Postcards are relatively cheap, and with no envelopes and it seems to me that they will reach offices sooner than enveloped letters (due to lower poisoning risks).  For particular campaigns, it would be easy to devise suggested (short) text, or even make logos available online.

            •  Petitions are what got marijuana legalization (6+ / 0-)

              on the state of Washington ballot and marijuana legalized (sort of).  Same with same sex marriage.  So yes, petitions do work, it depends on what kind, what issue and where at.  

              "I'm an antiwar propagandist as accused by democrats. Not even republicans have called me that."

              by BigAlinWashSt on Sat May 11, 2013 at 03:18:47 PM PDT

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              •  That's the key right there. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                So yes, petitions do work, it depends on what kind, what issue and where at.  
                There's a big difference between petitions that have legal power—i.e., a certain percentage of registered voters putting an initiative or the recall of an elected official on the ballot—and petitions that don't.

                For petitions with legal power, the person signing the petition knows that if enough others sign the petition, the petition will go into effect: the initiative or recall must legally be put on the ballot.

                For those without, the person signing the petition has absolutely no guarantee that the petition will have any effect whatsoever, and thus those who are trying to get people to sign have another rhetorical task: to convince potential signers that their signature will actually make a difference. Thus far, very few petition organizers have succeeded in that task, in my opinion.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Sun May 12, 2013 at 07:30:48 AM PDT

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            •  Pete Seeger always says make a river of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pinto Pony, CroneWit

              postcards, and you will get heard. Just make a postcard river like he has done. I'm trying to do this for saving the post office. a small but dedicated effort and people do write and put their name and address.

              •  Yes, POSTCARDS! (0+ / 0-)

                I mentioned this in an earlier comment here.  And one thing I left out is -- EVERYBODY reads postcards, even the handlers at various stages.

                Do you know if Pete expanded on his reasons for saying this?  A link would be cool.

    •  and when "those" petitions are targeting the wrong (9+ / 0-)

      people, it would seem to be a misdirected effort.

      for example, guantanamo - president obama tried to close it. congress prevented that from happening.

      why not swamp the members of congress that opposed the closing with petitions rather than the one person who is already on the side of the closure?

      beating up on one's friends and allies accomplishes little.

      i want to see massive attention paid to those who are actually blocking progress in this nation.

      even though all mail going to the congress gets screened, think of the impact if, on the same day, hundreds of thousands of letters went to individual republicans - the photo op of the mail delivery to boehner or cantor's office would be invaluable.

      email is invisible - petitions need to be hard printed and delivered to their targeted member of congress, imho.

      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

      by edrie on Sat May 11, 2013 at 01:31:24 PM PDT

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