Political Slactivism

A word about online petitions…now, I have to admit that I actually signed this one before I looked into it, so count me among the penitent, but if you want to see the blisters on my feet acquired since then, I’ve got the goods to prove my sincerity.

A while back I got this petition in the email, “please sign!  forward to all your friends!”  ok, so I go to the site at Focus Petitions:

The Petition

As a California resident, I am signing this Citizen Petition opposing Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) open advocacy of homosexual marriage and opposition of Prop. 8. As a utility that is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission and is commissioned to serve all Californians within its jurisdiction, PG&E should not take sides in such hotly contested cultural and political debates….

Now I agree with that wording 110%, a public company has no business taking sides in political or moral issues….so click the box right?  NO!   Well, actually, it doesn’t matter what you do with the box.

As far as I can tell from what I’ve read, online petitions have no teeth because they can’t verify signatures.  It looks like a feel good sort of thing that gets lots of new hits to the focus on the family organization that runs the petition site.  They get money from advertising.  It’s a cynical view, but it’s a crazy world.  It’s all just pretty, dressed up, slactivism.  Sit in your chair and click a mouse and assuage your guilt in one fell swoop.  You don’t have to get up, don’t have to write a letter, certainly not talk to anyone…that would be scary!  Unfortunately, the amount of effort required is linked to the amount of weight it carries on the other side.

If people really think there is something wrong with what PG&E did, they should write a handwritten letter and sign it!  Better yet, get three people to sign it with you before you put the stamp on, triple the effect for the same cost!  People weigh actual letters far more heavily than a thousand questionable petitioners.

PG&E Update:

October 23, 2008

Dear Brian,

As you know, PG&E has joined homosexual activists in trying to destroy traditional marriage. PG&E donated $250,000 to defeat CA Prop 8. Thousands of pro-marriage customers complained, but PG&E simply laughed. Well, PG&E is not laughing now.

The response to our previous action alert was so overwhelming that alternative gas suppliers were caught off guard. But that problem has been solved. Join with others and send PG&E a real message by switching suppliers. And save money, too!

According to Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, California law allows residential and non-residential consumers to choose an alternative natural gas provider. Research shows that alternative providers, year over year, have reported saving their customers up to 15% off their natural gas bill compared to PG&E.

“There is no reason why pro-marriage homes, small businesses, corporations, apartment owners, schools or churches should continue to support companies actively opposed to traditional marriage,” said Dacus.

For more information, here’s how to switch from PG&E to another provider. If you are not a PG&E customer, please forward this to your family and friends who may be PG&E customers.



Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association


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