If you've never seen the website change.org, you owe yourself a visit. It's a place where activists bare their wildest aspirations in hopes of support. It's where no cause is too small nor dream too large, and where no wrong cannot be righted through the power of public opinion.
When I looked in the other day, there were more than 200 digital petitions vying for attention. No more need to stand outside the grocery store with a clipboard.
A woman from Hurst, Tex., was campaigning for the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia to be shut down because of the inhumane conditions in which animals are kept. You know life is good in Texas when the biggest concern on your mind is 9,000 miles away.
A New Jersey resident asked for support in his effort to "Stop the George Zimmerman Celebrity Boxing Match," an event which somehow escaped my attention. More than 106,000 signed on. Now that the George Washington Bridge is open and running, maybe this is the biggest issue in Jersey.
A man in suburban St. Louis wanted state personal property tax eliminated. Who can't get behind that?
Not all causes at change.org come out of left field. There have been petitions for or against proposed state laws, petitions advocating community improvements and petitions decrying discriminatory practices. Some of those petitions have resulted in profound changes.
An immensely successful petition last year in support of a gay Moraga Boy Scout -- 479,000 signatures -- helped persuade the organization to rescind its ban on homosexual members.
Several recent change.org petitioners have come from the Bay Area. A San Francisco resident wanted Mayor Ed Lee to "Save the Homeless Youth Alliance." A Santa Clara petitioner sought justice for military sexual trauma victims through passage of the Military Justice Improvement Act.
A San Jose resident set his sights a bit lower: He wanted the ABC network to cancel "Jimmy Kimmel Live" because of a joke he found offensive. Attaching one's name to a cause apparently gives petitioners a sense of empowerment; a lot of people would have just changed the channel and watched "The Tonight Show."
The website reports the level of support for each petition with a running a total of online signatures. I was surprised to find 181,000 people favored a ban on the sale of lion meat because I didn't know it was for sale. Nearly 30,000 people supported a petitioner in Davis who wants the University of California to maintain its three-week winter break. It's a good bet most of those are students.
Among petitions receiving lackluster support -- 5,786 signatures in two years -- was a 9-year-old's effort to have July declared National Aeronautics and Space Administration History Month. It's already National Ice Cream Month and National Tickling Month. How much can you expect from one month?
Anyone can start a petition about virtually anything, as exemplified by the most avidly supported of the current crusades. More than 2 million people have backed an "Open Investigation into Judging Decisions of Women's Figure Skating" at the Sochi Olympics.
Of course, it's highly unlikely that the International Olympic Committee will retabulate scores and conduct a new medal ceremony. Not every source of disappointment can be remedied by petition.
If it were that easy, we'd petition the Oakland Raiders to win more than four games next season.
Contact Tom Barnidge at email@example.com.