I’ve signed petitions. I used to believe that if a large number of people showed support for an idea, someone would listen.
As I began to understand how meaningless the number of people who sign a petition is in the eyes of who the petition is directed to, I became less interested in signing petitions. Add that to the fact that petitions, even when signed by meaningful numbers of a politicians electors are often ignored, and the lack of actual support by many “internet activists” who think that clicking “LIKE” has some impact, and you can see why I’ve turned to more effective means of protest. Not quite back to blowing up buildings, but my radical days are too far behind me to make that kind of jump. In my heart I hope the spirit of revolution continues in the less than lethal ways it was pursued in my youth.
I still have fun with people who ask me to sign. Walking through Philadelphia I was approached on a near daily basis at first, then the “professional activists” started to recognize me and stay away.
“Excuse me sir, would you like to change the world?”
“Already did, your turn.”
“Do you really think a petition will feed hungry people? Here, maybe they’ll like this lunch menu.”
“Oh, GreenPeace. Pretty boat go boom. How does it feel to be the only people to lose to France?”
Or in the case of the Lyndon LaRouche people, I would just point at them and laugh out loud as I passed.
Yes, I heckle fanatics. It was my only source of entertainment back then. Today I entertain the incredible, as when I signed the petition asking the government to build a “Death Star“, because if they’re going to laugh about the pointlessness of petitions, I might as well laugh with them.
So imagine my surprise when the White House refused to entertain a petition to have the President of the United States intervene in a Hollywood casting decision. I mean, don’t we all understand the power of the Joker? The majority of Americans have realized that the Clown Prince of Washington is only acting like a president, isn’t it natural that they would appeal to him on an issue so important? For some reason, this petition violated the “Terms of Participation”, but the petition to build a Death Star was worthy of consideration. We are not amused.
Fortunately, the folks at Change.org know what is important, so they have their own petition to remove Ben Affleck as Batman, having been so successful in ending world hunger and stopping war.
I know it was a long time ago, but doesn’t anyone remember how unpopular the decision to cast Michael Keaton as Batman was? Nobody asked Reagan to intervene.
I hear a lot of talk about America being a democracy, but I don’t think many people still know what that word means. if I don’t like a casting decision I’ll ask the president to step in, if McDonalds is out of McNuggets I’ll call 911. We can’t tell the banks how to run their businesses, but we should be able to tell Hollywood? If you don’t like Ben Affleck, don’t spend fifteen dollars on a theatre ticket.
Perhaps this is an act of frustration. The American people, feeling helpless and without control, buy into the idea that if just someone would listen, things would be different. Seeing the success of Change.org and other for profit petition sites, the White House decided to get in the game, creating a false sense of engagement. When that sense of engagement is betrayed online, the next step is “marches”. Oh yeah, we’re already there. There’s at least one march every week in Washington DC, and countless others across the nation. The “Occupy” syndrome has encompassed every issue, with the somewhat troubling mascot of “Anonymous“. Protest were supposed to show unification, but have become attempts to become faceless mobs. Without identity, there is no responsibility, and a lack of responsibility unleashes violence. Here is where I get sad. If you’re going to break the law, expect law enforcement to respond. Don’t whine about getting sprayed with pepper spray, it should be a badge of honor. If you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. There was very little whining in Chicago in 1968, and that song by Stephen Stills was about a riot following the closing of the Sunset Strip.
I strongly support freedom of speech. It’s about standing up for what you believe. Standing up and being counted, not being anonymous. Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Lee Scheuer weren’t anonymous, they changed the world. That’s how things get done.
Activism is about acting, not posing. Not “What have you done?” but “Here’s what I did”.
Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after you
Hear the past a callin’, from Ar- -megeddon’s side
When everyone’s talkin’ and noone is listenin’, how can we decide?
(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground