Once upon a time a leader would come up with an idea that could either help or hurt our country.
That leader would then go about collecting the masses for speeches charged with patriotism, words for change, words of relief or added pressure on the poor and middle class.
Signatures would then be collected to breathe life into these initiatives.
Debates would spark and, in theory whatever was beneficial for the greater good prevailed.
The one omnipotent factor from those days was a sense of passion.
Today’s signature gatherers do it out of passion for cents.
To be paid, anywhere from 85 cents to $5 per signature, for the early stages of legislation, makes a mockery of our system.
Opposition stems from the dangers of associating money with politics, as it inevitably creates that gray area introducing greed and deception.
Accounts of fraud in California, Oregon and other states raise question: is it even safe to give your signature to a collector?
Often you have to disclose much more about yourself to these “hustlers” who talk so fast it takes longer to sign the papers than it does to hear about the cause.
Signature gatherers should be the ones who inspire the measures, the ones who can explain with absolute clarity the reason why one should sign a petition. As a matter of principle they should not get paid for it.
If we only realized the actual power of the signatures, we would take ownership of what we sign, and can demand that the groups vying for our votes ask for it themselves.
Not a person off the street being paid per signature.
Call me old fashioned but the system has to mean something more than “85 cents a pop”.