Being just a tad politically active I get to sign an awful lot of petitions and I’ve been giving them some thought of late.
In pre Internet days they were a good way of expressing complaint or desires to those who had the power to make changes. Thousands of signatures on paper meant people actually stopped, took time to think about the issue and physically make the effort to sign and consequently it said to governments or whatever, look out, listen to us or you could lose the power you have.
Now it’s so easy to just click a link, click ‘sign’, feel good about yourself for a couple of seconds and that’s it ’til the next one. Along with the huge proliferation of petitions, the meaning and effect of on-line petitions has been reduced to almost zero. The recipient never sees detail of the numbers signing just a total, maybe issues a meaningless response and presses the delete button.
Originally an aid to more open and accountable governance and a useful feedback to Ministers or CEO’s of Multi Nationals they are now barely an irritant. A possible consequence of this is a growing feeling of impotence that could then lead to more direct action which would lead to more repression leading towards riots in an escalating spiral.
The now five yearly General Elections when none of us get the government we thought we had voted for is not sufficient for the maintenance of peaceful democracy and freedom. We are at an impasse, what should or could be done? What do you think?