Reformism is all about working within the system that you have inherited. You follow the rules of that government, no matter how arbitrarily chaotic or conspiratorially despotic they are, in the hope that you can eventually turn it against its own nature, and towards whatever it is that you want instead. Sadly, it is neither guaranteed, nor even probable, that such measures will actually work in achieving your goals.
Petitions are little more than attempts at begging a particular type of government agent, usually a legislator, to please be nice to you and not act as dictatorial as he presumably otherwise would if you had not begged him. In fact, Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition) defines a petition (in part) as “a formal request in writing addressed to one in a position of authority.” Wait a moment…so, even by drafting and sending this type of legal document, the petitioner implicitly recognizes the alleged “au-thor-ity” of the government agent in question. This presents a rather interesting conundrum, for if you chose to not recognize such authority, wouldn’t petitioning a legislator either reveal your ineptness, or even worse, deliberate hypocrisy?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therefore; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. [emphasis added]
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Sections 27 & 29 of the Texas Bill of Rights declare that:
“The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance. [emphasis added]
“To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this ‘Bill of Rights’ is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.”
So, while it is true that you have the liberty to petition the government for a redress of your grievances, what it doesn’t mean is that they are obligated to obey your demands or listen to you in any way; in fact, they are at liberty to completely ignore you. The only problem here is that if they do that too often (much at the expense of the common people for the benefit of the wealthy corporatist special interests), the legitimacy of their bond of representation with the population comes into question, which is where we find ourselves today.
Whether it be the federal Congress or your respective state legislatures, legislators have little to no incentive to listen to anything you have to say, much less give you the time of day. As I have mentioned before on the topic of writing your congressman, unless you qualify in one of those exceptional categories (which by default, most people don’t), a legislator is not going to take you seriously. The closest “foot-in-the-door” exception would be to become a grassroots lobbyist, but even that too presents both logistical and ethical problems in terms of securing your Liberty. Unless your financial coffers are bursting to the seams from the many donations of liberty-lovers who aren’t beholden to corporate special interests, then you might be a serious contender against the professional lobbyists. Otherwise, you’d be better staying home and flushing your Federal Reserve Notes down the toilet (at least that way, you can save yourself the time and aggravation of negotiating with congresscritters).
Why does the alternative media push the use of petitions so hard for nearly everything? I suspect many genuine individuals naively think that if they focus the audiences’ attention upon a safe measure for whatever is ailing the body politic this week, then they will be doing them a kindness, even with something that is guaranteed to fail in achieving its stated goals. Ironically, nothing is more cruel that fostering a false hope in the minds of those who truly yearn for their liberty. Some even advocate the use of petitions not for their original purpose in making substantive political change within the government, but as a propaganda tool to grab mainstream media attention. Needless to say, if you require the corporate whore media to spread the message of Liberty, then we might as well pack up all our toys and go home to stay for the rest of our days, because that kind of dependence is not within any sane realm of reality for what we have to deal with in terms of at least trying to shrink this Leviathan we are all suffering under.
Some might be hesitant about filing petitions because of the privacy implications of doing so. Regardless of how any petition is written and delivered, it is still a legal document, and as such the use of aliases or the implementation of other typical INFOSEC measures cannot be used, since everything here has to be done completely aboveboard. Having said that, I don’t think it is wise to sign your name onto every petition that vaguely sounds good. It would behoove you to at least read the petition before you sign it, lest you become a foolish stooge in a Mark Dice type petition hoax video.
What has been the track record of petitions thus far? Have they increased or restored anyone’s liberty or property? It would seem to be the case that they have fallen through the cracks of modern history by being systematically ignored by those very government agents who have it within their power to act on them, and, it bears repeating, they have no incentive to do so. As Albert Einstein famously quipped, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Online petitions have been all the rage as of late. Following the alleged reelection of Barry Obama, there was a flurry of digital petitions about all sorts of topics, but some of the more noticeable ones centered around the theme of begging the White House to allow their respective state governments to peacefully secede from this highly overrated Union. As you can no doubt probably infer, nothing happened, although some of the older heads within the Patriot Community reasonably speculated that everyone who “signed” one of those digital secession petitions are likely by now to be on some police state watch list somewhere.
Even before the White House digital secession petitions took off, there was an activist group being promoted by the Carnival of Distractions known as Food & Water Watch (FWW). Unfortunately, the “Take Action” page for this organization was nothing anything more active than encouraging their readership to fill in the email contact forms for various single-issue items. While they may have had the best of intentions, I seriously doubt any of those single-issue items are going to be resolved in any manner, despite FWW’s previous claims where they tooted their own horn about their previous “victories.”
Ultimately, how do we measure the contemporary effectiveness of petitioning the government for a redress of our grievances? Well, as I am sure that it is easier to data-mine and profile digital petitioners, it also makes it easier for any legislative staff to ignore; when contrasted with paper petitions, it is revealed that not only the later affords greater privacy protection, but also a marked increase in (at the very least) the probability that some random staff member will actually read the damn thing. The real trick here though is in getting actual feedback, which is unusually difficult. Generally speaking, you are inherently relying on either receiving a letter back (typically in the form of a standard, totally non-informative letter), or acting as a watch dog by regularly checking up on floor votes in the Congress. It goes almost without saying that the latter method is the only reliable one that tells you just how effective your petition was, but it requires quite a bit of due diligence in constantly checking the congressional record.
If anyone were actually serious about petitioning the government for a redress of their grievances, the best one I have found for doing so is the You Have Tread on Me – Under One Banner petition. A major drawback of single-issue petitions is that they may appeal to some, but not to others; by contrast, multi-issue petitions are automatically more likely to attract large numbers of signers, and thus have more of an effect. Petitions should also be solution focused in their wording, otherwise they will not be taken to heart and treated seriously. Best of all, the Under One Banner petition is a paper petition, which means you would have to sign it using an actual pen! Not only that, it is also preferable to hand deliver three copies of this petition to “your” congressional Representative and two US Senators each, falling back on snail mail only as a last resort.
At the end of the day though, do petitions actually work? Gauging from previous history, as well as how they have been further bastardized by the onset of these so-called online petitions, I’m just gonna go ahead and say no. Omnibus bills and riders grafted onto unrelated pieces of legislation continue unabated, completely unaffected by pitiful begging to discontinue such practices. Such behavior is firmly entrenched in the District of Criminals, and sadly, in many, if not nearly all, of the state legislatures as well. It would be folly for us to assume this late in the game that it is still possible to put an end to tyrannical government by begging them to be a little nicer to us, even in the context of a support mechanism. At this juncture, nothing less than working outside of the system is going to provide even a modicum of a chance for us to possibly secure our Liberties.