It’s no secret that as someone who is actively involved in politics and has been for over 30 years I have signed my share of petitions on a number of different issues. My signature has supported campaigns on everything from demanding the end of apartheid in South Africa to the right to equal marriage, and the end of period poverty. So when someone asked me if I thought signing petitions mattered and could be viewed as political activism I had no hesitation in saying that it could and I wrote this poem entitled Signature to illustrate the point. I hope you find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read.
Someone once asked me
does signing a petition count as activism
I told them it did
they seemed happy with my answer
if slightly confused
on realising this I explained why our signature matters
I shared stories I had heard of injustice in South Africa
when Nelson Mandela was labelled a terrorist
by Margaret Thatcher
when all he wanted was his people to have the right to rule their land
I said that signing petitions was
a way of raising awareness to make people understand
why things needed to change
but would stay the same
If we didn’t sign up to express our discontent .
I explained that this is direct democracy in action
and without this kind of participation
it’s no exaggeration to say
Palestine would still be ignored
the lion rampant would never have roared for democracy
governments could neglect child poverty
and remain inactive on tackling the gig economy.
equal marriage would have remained a distant dream
and no it’s not the preserve of smaller parties like the greens
It’s a valuable way of bringing issues from the fringe to the mainstream
of changing attitudes over time
at street stalls or online
the power of your signature.
© Gayle Smith 2017