I keep getting asked to participate in online petitions on the White House web site. These things are worse than useless.
They're futile because nobody of influence actually reads them, and they're worse because they make people believe they're actually engaging in some sort of meaningful civic involvement. I have yet to see any significant policy decision or legislative initiative come out of them. They're simply a channel for people to vent their spleen and feel self-righteous about it.
You know who reads these? Sandy. She's a legislative correspondent. Legislative correspondents are interns whose job is to rummage through all the incoming diatribes, conspiracy theories, and death threats in six colors of crayon that pour into a politician's office. The pay stinks, and the job stinks.
Once in awhile, Sandy might find a petition that could be of interest, and it gets passed on to some focus group. They look at it, then delegate it to another LC who posts a facile response. None of these guys care how many people want low-flush toilets in the White House.
So, you wrangled 12,000 signatures for this? You want a medal or something? I could start a petition to make the ferret the national bird and have more than that in a week.
How about doing something worthwhile? Take a few minutes to contact your local representative. If the act of writing a letter, putting it in an envelope, and walking all the way to the mailbox seems too daunting, you can find a politician's email address more easily than starting a OMG KENYA SOCIALISM group on FaceBook.
And yes, I know ferrets aren't birds. That was my point.