newest entry 2001-09-20 10:32 a.m.

Do Online Petitions Actually Work?

The received wisdom of late is that Internet petitions are not effective. Remember the "let's help Afghan women" petition from a few years back? Not a resounding success. Signatures on online petitions can't be verified, so lawmakers and politicians basically ignore them.

It's best to get out an envelope, a piece o' paper and a Doctor Grip and sit down and write a letter to the elected official of your choice, and send it off.

The second best option is to e-mail a single message (i.e. not a "petition") to your senator or to the president.

I feel that these kind of petitions, either online or e-mailed-and-forwarded, are just another way that the Internet is making us lazy and numb. You get the instant gratification of clicking and sending, feeling like you've "done something", and you haven't done anything at all.

Having said that, I do believe in the efficacy of prayer. Prayer is an action that, among other things, calms the mind so that we can make better and more compassionate decisions, without that ego's influence.

On a personal note, I had a tough time falling asleep last night, even though I was tired and all stretched out from a good Bikram class. For the first time since last Tuesday, I started feeling panicky about war, and about the possibility of further attacks on our country. But this belies the more lofty truth: " thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50: 20). So I ain't gonna let the panic get to me. You?

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