Online Petitions: Another way to sit on your ass

A couple of weeks ago, on Jan. 27 to be exact, my old pal John Kerry sent me an e-mail asking me to sign a petition to support a filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Within five days, Alito’s position was confirmed. That said, I must admit I’m very skeptical of “petitions to filibuster” in general.

Before I go on, I must say that in Kerry’s defense, his e-mail also begged people to “use your own e-mail list and organize,” which, I suppose, involves some sort of action people can take.

But other than that, the e-mail basically pleads with people to sign a petition and hope for the best. Since this e-mail only reaches people on John Kerry’s e-mail list, chances are that these people are Democrats, a group that is constantly called lazy, illogical, disorganized and in need of support.

So why on earth are we sitting on our asses, signing petitions online that don’t help us make political progress? If a petition couldn’t bring back “My So-Called Life,” why do we think one can triumph in a major battle, like securing our rights?

In this wonderful age of technology, you can simultaneously write a paper, watch a movie, buy a new CD, listen to it immediately and talk to your friends without leaving your desk. Now, add to this the fact that you can also support the filibuster of a Supreme Court nomination and the possibilities seem endless. That’s where you’re wrong.

Just as there’s something more rewarding about searching for books to use in your paper, seeing a film on a big screen while eating popcorn, having the CD booklet to browse through on your first listen and talking to your friends face-to-face, actual political action is far more rewarding than just signing an online petition and calling it a day. And when I say “rewarding,” I mean that maybe it’ll change something or affect someone.

It is a well-known fact that according to the Princeton Review, the College is the 13th least politically active school in the nation. This ignoble distinction basically depicts us as sitting in our rooms, bitching about how terrible the world is and signing online petitions.

But what if we could each decide what main struggles are most important to us and then get involved in them? If you think reproductive rights are important, stop by the Women’s Center. And hey, if you think conservatives are underrepresented on campus, why not write for The Minority Report. We have both the College Republicans and College Democrats who, I bet, wouldn’t turn you away if you wanted to check out a meeting. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International are always looking for more students to get involved. There are probably a hundred more organizations and clubs that you can get involved with on campus, which gives you a world of opportunities to make a difference and make a change.

So maybe, just maybe, get away from your computer and see what you can do with all the time you saved not signing online petitions or bitching about how everything just sucks.