The reality of "petition" sites-the new fad.
The new activism
Like nearly everything else, the internet has provided an outlet for activism. That's not new. But a new "fad" is on the rise. Petition sites. There are many to chose from. We have signon.org, petitiononline.com, thepetitionsite.com, ipetitions.com, change.org, just to name a few.
Gone are the days of walking around your neighborhood with a clipboard in hand, asking your neighbors to sign a petition asking the local government to not cut down the 100 year-old oak tree on your block. Or asking people to sign a petition to jump on your bandwagon to free the local petting zoo animals. It's far past that.
We all have our angle. You believe in something, congratulations. I believe in a lot of things. I'll stand up for what I believe in. What I won't do, is start a petition to erase the stereotyping of wolves on television (yes, you read that correctly, and it is indeed a real petition). I'm not that inane and base. I know the reality, and know darn well that signing such ridiculous petitions, are useless.
No really...this one really is important....
I want all people to feel the same way I do about everything . But guess what? THEY DON'T. So what to do? Well, start a meaningless petition of course! Yes, meaningless. Like it or not, when something becomes as prevalent as these hot new "petitions", they mean less and less in the real world.
They have "petitions" for everything under the sun, from the aforementioned "stop the stereotyping of wolves on television", to "Tell Petco to allow their employees to have blue hair" (I mean blue is a natural color...right?) They are largely base, and 90% of these "petitions" are just worthless dribble from a person or a small group of people, with an axe to grind against something petty and unimportant. Things are what they are, and MOST of these personal gripes, and insignificant stuff isn't going to change, and frankly, isn't even important. Believe me, I don't want Obama in office another millisecond. But do you really think signing a petition to not re-elect him, is going to do any damn thing? And the same for opposite. Oh, so because 70 thousand people signed a petition saying "let's re-elect Oblunder".... then by gosh forget the electoral vote process, 100's of years of tradition are going to be overthrown because some people with too much time on their hands, have signed a petition! Please. The things I'm bombarded with daily on Facebook, my e-mail, different groups I'm a member of, from people saying "sign this petition", sign that petition", are largely unimportant and trivial. I mean really? You want me to sign a petition telling Petco to not enforce their new "natural hair color only" policy? We are all supposed to kowtow to those individuals who want to stand out through going against the grain? Another obnoxious one was "Stop attacks on birth control". Those pesky birth control haters! We'll show them. NOT!!!
Of course, there are causes that are more encompassing, and have a much broader impact on society. Welfare reform, overturning Row V Wade, stiffer sentences for child molesters, (all things I personally am all for). But the problem is, they one among literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of others. Thus, rendering more serious causes, meaningless when it comes to the petition highway. And that goes for the paradoxical folk, and their strong belief system about politics, humanities, and fat kids eating too many potato chips.
No, we're not counterproductive!
A funny side-effect of all this is a little twist of irony. You see, since there are now a plethora of "petition sites" out there, each with thousands of "petitions" for everything from "Save the asparagus slug" to "let's make it a crime chew tobacco on the third Thursday of every month". So, effectively, what you are actually doing is making the original concept and wanted result...completely ineffective. When we start whining about every little thing on earth, NOTHING gets taken seriously. Now, don't get me wrong, we need some changes in this country (and others). But I'm not going to start a petition for it. Why? Because it's just one more of a billion other "petitions" out there, being signed by people-(hopefully), from the comfort of their plushy chair, behind a computer screen. Who's going to take that seriously? I could go through and make up 4 thousand different names, and sign them to a petition. Corporate America, government, and other powerful entities, just aren't that stupid. They know that. They know that the 200,000 signatures, asking them to allow their employees to dye their hair blue, or purple, or green, are close to meaningless. One employee signing a thousand names to this "petition", friends of a few employees, (who really have no involvement, or opinion on the matter, where their lives are in no way effected either way), signing their names to a virtual pseudo-petition, isn't going to sway an entire corporate entity to back-peddle and say; "Oh,nevermind...you can come to work with rainbow hair".
"Well what if it does", you ask? Then by all means, let's take every little thing in life we object to, or feel passionate about, and presume that faceless, nameless "virtual folk" should be able to stake their place in the activistic world. (I made that word up, but it's great, so let's start a petition to make it part of the Websters dictionary). No more bologna being sold in supermarkets, all because I feel it's the bane of all foods and utterly disgusting...and was able to get hundreds of my friends to blindly sign a petition for the conglomeration of chicken butts, cow fats, and whatever else falls on the floor, to be banned from store shelves. Sounds trivial, unrealistic. And yet here we are. There are "petitions" just like this, and others even more vacuous, puerile, and hollow.
Money? What money?!
But let's take a look at the REALITY. Put your big boy pants on, and realize that we cannot (and should not), have to change every little thing on earth that YOU don't like, or believe in. These sites are close to useless. They prey on simpletons, since the actual purpose of these sites is one thing, and one thing only....can you guess? It's not for the clusterpuck of opposing views being plastered upon their website...it's for MONEY. More clicks, more money. You must give some info about yourself to sign. Some sites want more than others, but the bottom line is that they want your info to bombard you with third party advertizements and interests, DESPITE what the little asterisk tells you.They bombard you with daily e-mails, pleading with you to sign this petition, or that petition (regardless of the fact that they are two completely opposing petitions). It's all about the traffic their site gets, and the exposure they get from each and every RIDICULOUS "petition" some nobody (or a small group of nobodies), have created. And they are counting on the overly-opinionated public who feel in some way inadequate in a way that only signing a virtual petition, can fill.
It's not just bologna..it's ALL the lunchmeats!
Then you also get conflict of interest, sending mixed messages. Like with the animal rights angle. When I see a petition asking for harsher punishment for a woman who was caught on video literally throwing a small 8 lb dog across the room, smashing it into walls, kicking it, and ultimately killing it, then I want justice. There was no charges pressed, and people are outraged. Or like the German Shepard who had it's mouth taped shut, with a stick of dynamite stuffed inside by some kids, lit, and then left the poor dog, face exploded, so there were only eyes remaining, and left to wander and starve for days before being picked up and euthanized. The authorities are not pursuing any kind of charges or opening a case at all. Of course both of these incidences took place in other countries, where their laws are different, and we have little to no influence on how they run their government. But, you still can't help but want to send a message, right? Yet on the flip side, I see petitions for certain designers to stop selling fur items. Or petitions to have laboratories across the nation, stop testing on animals completely. And to be frank, I've worked in that sector, in a lab. And testing on animals, IS important for the health of humans AND animals alike. I think fur coats are great, I think hunting is fun, and I don't get upset when the circus comes to town all because they are "holding elephants against their will". So even though all of these petitions are in theory mutually exclusive, they really aren't in the end. Generally speaking, if someone feels strongly about harsher punishment for people who abuse and maltreat animals, will reasonably be assumed to be against using animals for fur, or would be completely against hunting. Yet I think animal abusers need harsher punishments, but love fur coats, and and enjoy gutting a freshly killed dear. And since the purpose of the "petitions" being created in the first place is to "change" or assuage people in charge to make a change about a subject, it's reasonable to believe that petitions that include a common theme (in this case animals), are being signed by people who are for "animal rights", all across the board. And for people like me, that's just not true. And because unlike this generation of "anything goes", and "it's cool to stand up for a cause, without regard to the consequence", signing a petition, as it were, is not something I'd take lightly, unlike most, who don't really think about the message that's actually being sent, beyond that of the words on the page you're signing. You want to stand up for what you believe in, but like it or not, when you "stand up" for something, you are bringing with you an assumed lifestyle, belief system, way of thinking. And I don't want people thinking that just because I think bologna is the most disgusting "food" on the planet, and should be banned from humanity, doesn't mean I don't love meat, and think all deli's should be shut down.
Look at all the sheep
All the rage, the all-encompassing "petition websites". Sure, they are there to make a difference, and not make money, because they have plenty of that to go around. Sure. Perhaps I'll start a petition asking for all people who blindly follow the proverbial "causes", with no real grasp on all the affects and consequences, and who think these websites are there to "make a difference", to be unceremoniously banned from the internet....and all processed deli products. It's an important cause....right?
Sign the petition so all rats can bowl on on Saturdays!
And yes, all the little critters in the pictures,are my cuties. My beloved rats, and they love to pose for the camera, as you can see. Charming and sweet. Get yourself a rat or two!
Also, check my really great pictures of all my pets on my candid pet photography hub!