Maybe it began because I worked a telephone bank for Barack Obama. Or, perhaps it started when the ACLU emailed a request to join. They’re big on the First Amendment and so am I. It seems to me the right of skin-headed Nazi’s to march is a fair trade for the right to present art that is frequently attacked and banned by the Neanderthals who pock-mark the country.
So I dues up, get my card, sign their petitions.
Then came the email from People For The American Way. Hey, anyone who created Archie Bunker and Meathead and actually mobilizes against the Wing-nuts who want to hurtle the country back to the 18th century I gotta support.
So I join and sign their petitions.
What can you say about Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International other than they shine light upon some of the most horrific abuses throughout the world.
More dues, more petitions.
I figure I’m set–spent my charity budget and feel pretty righteous
But it ain’t over. Slow and steady, email by email, link by link, the requests to sign this and that and the other pile heavy into my inbox.
How do I turn down requests by organizations who protect a woman’s right to choose?
How do I turn down Mayors Against Guns when 34 people a day, every day, get shot?
How do I turn down environmental groups when I believe in climate change and have worked closely with laborers who have died from the toxicity in their plants?
Well, by this time, I’m not feeling all that righteous. Hell, now when I click a link I don’t even have to fill in blank boxes. They know me.
As a result, I get a stream of form letters from senators and congressmen thanking me for taking the time to express my views. And a promise to keep my ideas in mind when relevant legislation lands on the floor. To absolutely no avail. Virtually every issue I’ve sign up for loses when it hits the House or Senate. So much for their minds and my signatures.
But signing has become crack. I can’t stop. I’m fucking signing petitions to protect polar bears. Why? The closest I’ll ever get to one will be on the NatGeo channel. But I think it through. Palin and her motley crew must be behind this bear slaughter.
I’m signing petitions against virtual fences, for new filibuster rules, against budget cuts, for the recall of state politicians in states that aren’t mine. I’m signing save bowhead and beluga whales and walruses. I wouldn’t know a beluga if one skateboarded down my block and chomped on my legs. (Isn’t it actually caviar?)
So, for sure, I sign.
I’m so devoted to petitions that more often than not I think I’m the president signing executive orders. But then I look around and see that none of my orders command any respect. Just the opposite. The country is sliding back in time and all I see are wars, poverty, loss of rights, worse racial inequality, and right-wing Jihadists running the show.
Guess it’s time to admit the obvious. If this is how high my “freak flag flies,” I owe an apology to David Crosby. Somewhere along the line, I cut my hair.
From error to error, one discovers the entire truth.