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

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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-)
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      Pinto Pony, Chi
    •  I have to disagree doc2 (5+ / 0-)
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      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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's the key right there. (1+ / 0-)
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              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

              [ Parent ]

          •  Pete Seeger always says make a river of (2+ / 0-)
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            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.

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