Tag Archives: political parties

IowaHawk So You Have a College

This Should NOT Make Me Laugh

So…

sigh

In about six weeks, two of my three children will be college students.

gulp

It’s just absurd to find oneself become a living example of a cliche, but I’ve realized I have. Picture a woman who begins crying while staring at the pair of animal print flats on her feet. That would be me. Yeah, it’s embarrassing and I can’t even cite the traditional excuses women have at their disposal.

Pregnant women do occasionally cry for what seems like no reason whatsoever, but that one’s mostly a myth. Post-partum women also cry. It’s mostly not clinical depression, however, that’s another myth. For most, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s women who find themselves still in their pjs at one o’clock in the afternoon, who smell like spit up, who do the crying. If it’s your first baby, that’s reason enough. Moms in later rounds cry, too. But with additional babies, it’s not only because they don’t smell lilly fresh and are dog-tired. It’s because they find themselves comforting a crying eight week old while carefully chasing a two year old headed towards the bathroom with a set of car keys. While smelling like spit up. So tired they can hardly see. In their pjs. At three o’clock in the afternoon. This scenario would provoke tears in any woman of sense.

But I’m not pregnant, post-partum, or chasing a key-flushing toddler while holding a screaming baby (yes, he did beat me there).

No, I’m one of those other cliches. One that I’ve not heard about much. The one about the weepy mother who is sad to see one of her kids go. Animal print shoes can bring a mother to tears because the shoes are shared. And its not because the shoes are really cute (although they are). The realization comes that the shoes leaving means they are going with a certain pair of feet, come the end of August.

Again, sigh.

I will deal with the emotional “mommy response” on the whole thing. I’ve been doing it for over twenty years with each new phase, because that’s what the child needs now.

Then I can move onto a whole other set of worries about college. As a frugal Constitutional Christian, (a phrase chosen as a substitute for worn out terms like conservative) I’m driven crazy by the absurd costs, progressive indoctrination, and commune-style living forced upon my child with bonus meal plan and text book side rackets. It’s all a bunch of nonsense, considering the point of the whole endeavor is supposed to be to obtain an education in a particular field in preparation for a career.

Considering the “mommy” thing and the college-drives-me-crazy-thing, I shouldn’t have laughed so hard I had another kind of tears in my eyes when I accidentally stumbled upon IowaHawk’s article entitled, “So You Have a College Diploma”.  Check it out. If you’re reading this and you have kids in college, or are about to, I particularly urge you to have a read. The good Lord knows we folks all need a good laugh.

Click to read “So You Have a College Diploma”

Speaking of laughter as a diversion, I found IowaHawk’s article by accident when going to the site to retrieve a link for a GiN article written by Linda about the “debt ceiling” debate, entitled, ironically “Debt Ceiling: I Laugh Because I Must Not Cry — That is All!” Check that out, too, if you have a mind (click the image below, to read the full article). I think it’s well done:

Click to read “Debt Ceiling: I Laugh Because I Must Not Cry — That is All!
Petitions are a dime a dozen

Petitions…Effective? Yes, and No…Depends Upon What You're After…

petitions

Originally posted in May 2009, but the phenomenon is only increasing.

There are petitions as far as the eye can see these days. At least floating around the community of the “Silent No More”.

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive some kind of petition appeal from some online group I belong to or have one forwarded to me via email.

I used to think that petitions were a good idea. After all, some of the very people I thought were actually trying to do something in their endeavors were conducting drives for them.

And, as noted there has been a recent blizzard of one kind or another.

The question: Are petitions effective?

The answer: For the most part, yes, if you are attempting to build a database of contact information.

But one answer is really a question. How many different kinds of petitions have there been throughout history? Answer: Skads, and here we are. (Where is here? As a country, in big trouble!)

The only petitions truly worth doing, aren’t really petitions at all. They are actually called ballot initiatives, those measures that actually get something (or someone, a candidate) put on a ballot. These measure have real teeth.

All of the rest are data gathering, list-building measures, that are very often used to solicit funds later.

online-petitionsThe best explanation for the purpose of petitions which I can summon is one of those prize drawings, like at a home show expo. or a grocery store. Businesses don’t do these drawings out of the goodness of their hearts.

And neither do political organizations.

Prize drawings and petitions have the same general purpose: to obtain contact information of interested parties and market to them. Garage door companies at a home show expo. market garage doors, political organizations appeal for funds, push their agenda, and often, put forward candidates.

Often, use of data goes beyond the obvious. Many organizations (as in 501cs) who use petition drives for list building, will automatically add signers’ names to their member data base. The number of members is often quoted by such groups when they are pushing their agenda. In other words, Group X says to Senator Slick , ” We have 10,000 members who are behind us on this bill, or that bill.” A good chunk of those “members” may not necessarily agree with the particular measure Group X is supporting (or opposing).

So, there are clearly some obvious problems with petitions pushed by many groups and organizations.

But what about when genuinely passionate citizens wanting to do a petition drive to either effect some action that is to be taken or send a message to a politician? They are clearly not out to use a list for their own agenda. They really are trying to do something good.

This well-intentioned attempt to have an impact, when it involves turning over a petition to “the opposition”, though, can have some undesirable effects. The opposing group now has an entire list of names at its disposal…to do with it as it sees fit.

In the information age, where amassing databases seems to be the gold standard, petitions potentially do nothing more than provide someone with just that, ready made. Those who understand the problems with petitions should not perpetuate the notion that they are a good idea, and so should avoid encouraging the practice of carrying them out.

In the very rare cases where a petition of a symbolic nature (not a ballot measure) seems important, it’s necessary to proceed with caution. After signatures are collected, the results should be reported to the target, without actually handing over the petitions themselves. An opportunity of supervised examination by the the target or his representatives should be offered. This way, the point can be made, which is a number of citizens are thinking alike on a certain issue, without handing over the contact information.

But again, this should only be done rarely.