The Political Activist Group "Making Change” is reaching out to their contributor base, asking for ideas for new petitions to keep the heat on Washington and Wall Street. Problem is, folks are using it for personal gripes and shying away from the big issues.
“There are only so many trees you can save…literally,” said Gertrude Weinstein, a 70-year old activist who just submitted her own petition trying to pass a law allowing senior citizens to submit claims to Medicare for grey market mobility scooters. Weinstein and others have found that they have lots of time on their hands and a whole bundle of issues they’d like to see addressed from defective adult diapers to making early-bird specials mandatory at all restaurants.
Making Change admits asking ordinary citizens to contribute ideas for petitions may have been a bad idea. “While we state clearly on our site that we are looking for the best ideas to promote a progressive agenda through the petition process, something has gotten lost in the translation,” said Sarah Birkenstock, head of public relations at Making Change.
In one day, Birkenstock says Making Change received petitions to deal with everything from Rush Limbaugh’s push to keep pill mills pumping out the Oxycontin to changing the National Anthem to Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way.”
“So far, our site and dozens of others have brought focus to about a million gazillion causes through petition drives, and we have found that regardless of whether or not the net is becoming overly polluted with petitions for every political and social cause under the sun, people are still signing them left and right,” she said.
Asked if possibly trying to persuade folks to get personally involved instead of just sitting at a desk and signing petitions might be a better route to take, Sarah responded, “Are you kidding? Try getting a group of folks together to actually get out the vote or show up for town hall meetings or any number of other civic-minded duties and you’d think you’re asking them for a kidney. But put them in front of a small screen, ask them to put their support behind a recall election by clicking on a box with their name and address already filled in for them, and you’ve got a million signatures in one evening.”
Birkenstock says she’s just as bad as the rest of them.
“I had one come across my desk the other day, I kid you not,” said Birkenstock, “that read ‘Tell Washington no more petitions.’ I realized I’d signed it before I’d even read it.”