PetitionSpot offers a painless way to sign petitions — without even lifting your butt from the chair.
But it raises two questions and suggests a comment:
1) are the defining issues of our times bringing back Gumby and Family Guy and mobilizing a “Tomb Raider 3”? What about things a bit more substantive, like peace in our time, ending malnutrition or malaria, or stopping the high school dropout epidemic? Sure makes one think that at least some Americans have gone soft.
2) even if the topics were more serious, and a few of them are — legalizing marijuana or releasing an imprisoned Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq — this is hardly the best way to do this. All the petition-smart folks know that petitions and workout routines fall in the *no pain, no gain* category. People receiving these petitions discount the value of the e-petitions since they take so little work to send. For example, Congressional offices routinely simply discard e-petitions, whereas they do take constituent letters seriously (more so, if they seem personalized and not simply cut-and-pasted from a form). Power brokers are taking their cue for whether people care enough about an issue to take the time to write.
3) these e-petitions destroy all the value inherent in the face-to-face petition process (like meeting people you know or making new friends, a chance for dialogue or discussion, and an enhanced sense of collective efficacy among both the petition initiators and signatories).
So while it’s not on my list of defining issues, all you Gumby lovers should get out there and write thousands of personalized letters to the company, all the better if they are hand-written.
Note: hat tip to Louise Kennedy for alerting me to PetitionSpot.