Commentary: Are petitions effective enough at creating political change?

Change.org occupies many petitions that have been circulating recently.

Saihaj Cheema

Change.org occupies many petitions that have been circulating recently.

Politics. 

It is probably one of the most controversial topics in existence. Almost everyone has dissimilar views.

There are Republicans, Democrats, liberals, leftists and who knows how many more standpoints. 

Is social media influencing Generation Z’s opinions and biases? 

With TikTok stars gaining all of the publicity nowadays, it is safe to say that they have an extremely powerful platform. When they have certain judgements, opposite of what their belief was previously. 

Influencers on TikTok are obviously taking a huge risk while expressing their political opinions, due to the possibility that their fanbase may completely disagree. Worst case scenario, it can result in them losing fans.

If it’s an issue that they believe needs to be brought to the public eye, it is appropriate for them to voice their thoughts and emotions. 

Spreading awareness about politics is greatly significant, as everyone partially depends on it. Decisions made in politics affect all of us, whether it is regarding who holds power in government or the laws that impact how we will live our everyday lives. 

They should be able to use their platform how they desire, as long as they do so with sensitivity for others.

For example, Charli D’amelio, a TikTok influencer, continuously shows her support for Black Lives Matter by having a BLM profile picture.

As cancel culture becomes more of a “trend”, disagreements and differences in perspective are causing people to be attacked left and right. Yet these ambushes still fail to stop them from sharing their outlooks on arguable topics.   

Even people who have acquired a lot of fame receive backlash. TikTok influencer Quinton Griggs received tons of hate because a video was leaked of him wearing a “Trump 2020” hat.

Yet it’s evident that people who idolize these influencers tend to follow the beliefs and calls to action expressed by them. 

Regarding the presidential debate right now, influencers are suggesting we sign digital petitions, such as the ones I have seen on change.org

Petitions have largely been used in an attempt to enact justice for the victims of inhumane behaviors, such as those scarred by shootings and racism.

However, I am not sure if these petitions are having a positive impact. 

It is wonderful that so many people are trying to contribute, but some of these petitions seem out of reach, such as the one about teen voting and getting people kicked out of office, including the current U.S. president.

Although these events are definitely desirable to many, it seems unattainable to unseat a sitting officials simply with a petition. 

If it does work, it would be a great achievement for the people taking part. 

I have signed some of the petitions that influencers suggested. There is always a chance that you will make a change. 

People should do whatever they can in order to make a positive impact in the world.

In the end, even if it’s a small difference, it is still a difference.

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