Online Petitions


Online Petitions are all-pervasive. From Climate Change to opposing bills and amendments, nowadays, every movement begins on social media. Every day thousands of people sign hundreds of petitions to stand for varied causes. But, do these petitions ever accomplish anything?

The world today is undergoing various catastrophes daily which affect millions of people across the globe. Mostly, citizens watch the authorities remaining silent and wait for them to act on such disasters, expecting them to retaliate. In these cases, online petitions have become a simple solution which provides a platform that allows the people to contribute towards the betterment of the society, rather than just sitting around and waiting. Online Petitions give a wider meaning to the concept of Democracy. It is an appropriate way that gets the point across many, to reach the authority, and gain support from people all over the world. Many even believe that it has become an internet version of street rallies minus the commitment and efforts.

It is a matter of concern that in the 21st Century, people have to rely on this strategy to have their voices heard, and make the administration recognize the needs of the people which are quite obvious. The fact that the number of online petitions is rising at a rapid rate is an accurate representation of how authorities, elected by us, don’t listen to our needs, leaving us helpless to the extent that we feel the need to engage in this rebellious method of harmless protest. Our constituency leaders are hardly put up for questions, they are closest to our concerns, and they hardly care.

But the question remains, do these petitions contribute to change? I would say- Rarely.

It depends on the majority of people who sign these petitions. When we take steps to bring about a change, there are only a few people who genuinely care about the cause, while the majority of people participate for the sake of participation and not emancipation. People sign these “petitions” to reduce their guilt of actions. They aim at achieving a slight sense of contribution, by investing barely two minutes of their time and consider it making a change. On the other hand, one might argue that such movements are instrumental in raising awareness. But, these petitions, arguably, also allow people to feel as though they have taken action when, in reality, they haven’t, and potentially have prevented individuals from pursuing more hands-on activism.

The answer, regardless, isn’t to stop yourself from supporting and signing the next viral campaign that you come across. One has absolutely nothing to lose from signing something they agree with, and nobody knows which appeal might defeat the odds, and provoke a real change. Instead, the answer is to rebel vigorously, as well as ensure that our effortless contribution online meets subsequent real development offline.

Feature Image Credits: BBC

Avni Dhawan
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