Petitions are windows into prevailing social and economic conditions.
The flow of petitions through a site like GoPetition, while airing complaints of a wide variety, is also a measure of the flow of social mood. In the United States, for example, recent social mood has been unusually depressed. Petitions protesting mass shootings and debating gun control can be juxtaposed against widespread economic problems and political frustration.
To capture the extreme social mood prevailing in the USA, one would need to find some petitions of an "extreme" nature. The secession petitions offer a window into desperation. Secessionists from Kentucky, Texas, and South Carolina have all expressed their exasperation with US politics. Clemond Griffin II sums up the feeling of many, "I feel that our voices as citizens of the United States of America have fallen on deaf ears, and that the state of the union is in a downward spiral... if New Hampshire and other such states described within, secede from the United States of America, then South Carolina should as well."
But it's not just frustration with politics that represents the prevailing mood. Economic conditions are also dire. This is reflected with calls to abolish the US Federal Reserve and reform household names like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Many homeowners are simply fed up with Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. One homeowner, Carrie Mateos is taking action. She claims that Fannie & Freddie are simply burying homeowners further and further underwater while, at least in Florida, the courts have been bogged down with foreclosures some taking over 3 years. This has driven down property values in many neighborhoods.
Mateos claims she is just trying to help herself and millions of Americans having to deal with Fannie Mae & Freddie not allowing principal reductions. These Americans are losing their homes. She laments, "I mean why would they offer a homeowner the option to short sell at fair market value versus offering them a loan modification at fair market value."
Of course the social and economic hardhsips mentioned above are dwarfed by the personal tragedies of the recent spate of shootings in the US. Many petitions have called for gun control while others claim that the solution against violence is to arm teachers and uphold the constitutional rights of Americans to have and hold as many guns as they like. In the meantime, a campaign to release the toxicology report of the Sandy Hook shooter sums up a focus in America on tragedy itself.
While there are many other petitions at GoPetition of a positive nature, and a number of success stories, there is an underlying trend of exasperation felt by many Americans about their social environment and living conditions.
Posted by John Pope for GoPetition