There's nothing more pointless than an online petition. Not a toupee. Not the V-chip. Not the further escalation of an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Nothing.
Now, in parallel universes it's much different. In one, a petition convinced the British Empire to let the American colonies break free from the crown. In another, a petition single-handedly saved the loggerhead turtle, the silverback gorilla, and "you might be a redneck" jokes from extinction. And in arguably the strangest parallel universe of all, a petition from an aggrieved populous successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that Al Gore won the presidency in 2000, Beyonce Knowles won the 2009 Best Female Video at the VMAs, and Carrie Prejean had to return her implants to the Miss California Pageant.
But not here. Not in our world. In this universe online petitions are a joke. Is this a real name? Is this a real e-mail address? Does 1D10T count as a zip code? Online petitions have less credibility than former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy does whenever she spits out unproven theories about the link between vaccines and autism.
That said, I have yet to meet an online petition I — or one of my aliases — wouldn't sign.
Like the petition that Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-S.C.) has recently posted at KeepTerroristsOutofSC.com, the one urging President Barack Obama not to transfer Gitmo detainees to U.S. soil. I signed that. Not with my real name, of course, but a fake one. It's this name that will be attached to Barrett's letter to the president, and I'm sure it won't be the only bogus one in the bunch.
Prior to sponsoring the petition, Barrett penned an anti-Gitmo detainee transfer letter and sent it to the prez, and he urged his fellow candidates in the South Carolina gubernatorial race to sign the letter, alongside GOPers Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Joe Wilson, and Rep. Henry Brown. (The state's more grown-up Republicans Sen. Lindsay Graham and Rep. Bob Inglis did not sign the letter.)
Two candidates for the GOP nomination responded to Barrett's request — S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster and state Rep. Nikki Haley. Both agreed to sign the letter. However, Haley had some choice words for Barrett: "[C]alling on candidates for governor to join you in a letter to President Obama, rather than asking your colleagues in Congress — who are actually in a position to prevent this potentially dangerous situation — to do the same, strikes me as little more than political grandstanding."
Haley added, "I would suggest writing another letter to President Obama that might do even more good. Please ask the president to stop using taxpayer dollars for the TARP bailout. As you were a supporter of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, adding your voice to the chorus of conservative opposition to that continuing waste of tax dollars might actually prove helpful."
But as pointed as Haley's response was, it was nothing compared to what Charleston resident and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mullins McLeod had to say: "With all due respect, I'd request that you take your letter and shove it."
McLeod added, "In times of war, our duty as Americans is to pull together and do our part to secure victory. No one wants suspected terrorists on our soil while they await their richly-deserved punishment. But when the president asks us to do our part in the international war on terrorism, the only appropriate response from this or any state's governor is 'Yes Sir, Mr. President.' Frankly, I am surprised that you would choose to play politics rather than support our war effort." Well done, sir. Well done.
However, it's easy to speak your mind when you have nothing to lose, and, make no mistake, McLeod will lose next year. Not only against the GOP candidate in the governor's race, but against the much higher profile Democratic competitor, state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.
Truth be told, McLeod's candidacy is about as pointless as an online petition.
Sign me up.