May 14, 2013

Hang Together, Not a Check Box

This week I am joining Karen and many others in D-Blog Week.

Today's topic is, "We the Undersigned." 

Our prompt of Today is: 
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

Hang Together.

Petitions need to be a call to action not a check box. 

Consider the most prominent of all American petitions the Declaration of Independence. The people who signed that were committed to action. It was an act of treason against mother England. We all know Ben Franklin’s, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Think about that, this wasn't a casual thing, clearly it was outside the signors comfort zone. 

Signing meant the risking being hanging by the British if captured. That is not an understatement . The signors had more than a little skin in the game. These days signing a petition often is little more than a Facebook like. I am not sure there is any lower common denominator of approval than that a Facebook like and that many petitions are at best only tiny bit more than that. 

I think we need skin in the game. A willingness to give some kind of effort towards the change that petitions seek. To do so means we have given a little more than a quick glance at the matter and are willing to actually be involved in what ever revolution we are signing up for. 

So I am all for a petition that is not so much signed as a movement that is joined. Here is a cause to think about joining: Look at the amounts invested in research per patient for AIDS, Breast Cancer and Diabetes. This chart is from my friend Manny who got the numbers here

Sure it is fun to click away to petition for funding a Death Star. If we are going to petition let it be more than a silly click and be about something meaningful. Research is something for which the diabetes community should “petition the government for a redress of grievance.”  If that last bit sound familiar, it come from Franklin’s day. Written by people that know what a petition was, it is the last line of the First Amendment to the Constitution. 

Let do something not just click something. 


  1. Thanks for this, Bennet. On one hand, I totally agree. 110%. But then there's a part of me that looks at how EVERYONE has a petition these days and is calling for something "oh so serious," and I just want to take a lighter, fun approach to these. Either way, very much like your message and think that yes, before "agreeing to sign" a petition we should look at how strongly we're willing to advocate for that position.

  2. Very true. I feel like petitions have gotten out of control lately and that they've lost all meaning and effectiveness. A petition can't just say "You - do something!", it needs to say here's what we think should be done, this is why it should be done, and this is how to do it (and pay for it!). Without all of that, and a commitment to support it, it won't be too effective

  3. Get post Bennet! The graph visuals are stunning! Couldn't agree more.

  4. Thanks Bill. All credit to Manny I hijacked his chart.