Break the Chain One in the Hand is Better than Two and a Bush

Exclusive (5/31/01) I'm usually pretty reluctant to get involved with hot-button topics like the Bush administration's stand on the environment. Fortunately, there are so many things wrong with this petition that I can break this chain without even considering the subject matter.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subj: Important: Our Environment

Bush recently decided he would NOT push to allow higher arsenic levels in drinking water because of widespread public resistance. Arsenic is a great buzzword but unfortunately, most people don't realize how bad our environmental controls are. In almost all categories, the USA is the largest polluter in the world and Christine Whitman and GWBush would be happy to expand Newark from sea to shining sea. Lets keep the pressure on and prevent Bush from obeying his corporate paymasters who want to pollute for cash.

(Not mentioned in the text below is the fact that Australia refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty because we are not signing it. In the U.S. refusal to push for ratification, both President Bush and Christine Todd Whitman (the head of the EPA) sight our economic health as the primary factor.

President Bush recently announced that the United States Government will not attempt to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases. The United States produces 25% of the world's carbon dioxide, a gas that is believed to be the main contributor to global warming.

Rising global temperatures are known to raise sea levels, and change precipitation and other climate conditions. Changing climates alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also threaten human health, and harm birds, fish, and many types of ecosystems. An increase in weather-related disasters will occur, deserts may expand into existing range lands, densely populated coastal areas will flood and large numbers of people will have to move.

Show you disagree with the Bush Administration's decision to withdraw from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Global Warming. Urge President Bush to review his policy in this matter and devise a comprehensive plan to reduce US emissions of so-called greenhouse gases.

Sign your name, town and country of residence at the bottom of this e-mail, copy the entire text of this e-mail (do NOT use the forward button), into a new message and send it to as many people as possible. If you see 100 people have signed this message before you, send this e-mail to the White House at president@whitehouse.gov to show Mr. Bush the world is watching. Then start a fresh copy of this message with your name as the first signer.

Thank you.

(44 Names Deleted)

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

I've seen a lot of armchair activism since George W. moved into the White House. There's a strong sentiment that "he's not my president. Well, face it folks, he is the president. If you want to influence his policies, you can't continue the same apathy that led to the super-close election that got him into office in the first place. Change requires action, and there is probably no action less-active than sitting at your computer forwarding e-mail.

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In my new primer on Armchair Activism, I point out several elements that a good petition would contain. Upon inspection, you'll find that this petition lacks seven of seven (sponsorship, focus, validity, privacy, expiration, reliability and integrity).

The most import thing this one is missing is integrity. Never sign a petition that asks you to send it directly to the party whose actions you're trying to influence. This isn't activism, it's wide-scale annoyance. After the white house receives about 100 copies of the same letter, they'll start ignoring it. After about 1000 copies, they'll start blocking it or shut down the e-mail account. It's completely unreasonable to assume the Bush administration is going to devote the time and manpower required to sort through thousands of duplicate signatures. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: None

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