GUEST COLUMN: Think hard about signing petitions

Jul 5, 2011


Every year, this dangerous chemical kills thousands of innocent people in the United States, and yet our federal government refuses to act. In fact, in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 3,443 accidental fatalities were caused by this chemical. It is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children between 1 and 14 years old. This chemical is harmful to breathe and causes many other medical issues if inhaled.

This material creates all of these problems and yet our regulators and politicians sit there and do nothing. To top it off, each year thousands are burned by this chemical as well, and again, our politicians do nothing to protect us. Won’t you stand up with me and sign on to ban this chemical in our state and beyond? Would you be willing to give me $10 or $20 to help in this fight?

If you said yes or maybe, keep reading. 

If you are on board, congratulations, you just signed on to ban dihydrogen oxide — perhaps better known by you or the “average Joe” as water.

If you were duped, don’t feel bad. I just witnessed a bunch of my neighbors (don’t worry, I still love you guys) signing a petition that made about as much sense. 

Specifically, we recently had a nice young man from Clean Water Action, an organization that says it promotes all kinds of good things relative to the environment, canvassing our neighborhood. Anyway, he shows up at my front door asking me to sign a petition and make a donation to “their cause.” He spoke about how elected officials, and in particular Congressman Fred Upton, were levying attacks against clean water by allowing more mercury and lead into the water.

When I asked him to produce which House bill he was talking about, he looked at me with a glazed-over, deer-in-the-headlights facial expression. When I looked over the literature on his clipboard, I saw nothing — nada, zero — relative to any type of legislation. Rather, there was “coaching material” on the clipboard as in what he should say to those folks whose dinner he just interrupted. After handing him back his clipboard, he now knew that I was not going to be a pushover and sign his list and cut him a check for 20 bucks. I’ll give the kid some credit for being observant; he knew there was a “no sale” coming.   

As he started to disengage, I proceeded to try and re-engage him about my concerns with the environment and what his organization was going to do about going after the real polluters when it comes to mercury. Of course, the largest producer of mercury today is not coal-fired power plants; rather, it is our natural volcanoes.

By now, he was backing away from my door as if he had seen a conservative monster — perhaps even a Republican — and telling me that it was just fine if I did not agree with him, but he had to be moving on to the next house. I quickly asked him what his educational background was.

At first, he was reluctant — but when pressed, he told me he was a college student; in fact, a music major, violin to be exact, from Oberlin College in Ohio. For those of you that have never heard of Oberlin College, it is a fantastic music school. This kid probably can really make the strings sing. However, my bet is he knows a lot more about Beethoven than power plants and mercury. However, this did not stop him from telling my entire neighborhood that big bad industry and some really bad politicians are out to get us and pollute our water.        

Anyway, for those that signed that petition or are tempted to sign, I also wanted to take a second to illuminate who this organization really is. Their interests apparently go beyond clean water, as noted from this little ditty I pulled from their website.

Kathleen Aterno, national managing director for Clean Water Action said: “The attacks on Planned Parenthood and the effort to prevent any federal funding for its services will, if successful, have a devastating effect on the health of women and children across the nation.” She added: “Many low- and moderate-income women use Planned Parenthood clinics for basic health care services as well as family planning services. Eliminating services on which women rely will take a terrible toll on their health and well-being, and is contrary to sound public policy, which should prioritize public health needs.”

I don’t know what your stance is relative to Planned Parenthood and that is not really my point. However, I am not sure that anyone signing on to a petition or writing a check for clean water would know that these types of things were also part of the program. So, the next time some nice college kid comes to your door and asks you to sign something, and possibly write a check for a cause that sounds really good, you might ask a few more questions before joining up and saving the planet. 

Oh, one last thing: Many thanks to my friends at Grand Haven BLP for the electricity (created from a coal-fired plant, no less) that was needed to power my computer and chill my ice cold beer — it made writing this letter to the editor that much easier. Keep up the good work!             

— By Mike Lenahan



Don't sign any liberal petitions.... is what he really you a funny guy!!!

ghmomma Damn those violin playing liberals........they don't know any better!!!! (Oberlin is a fine university with students that are educated in more than just music!)


Why lie??? OMG!!! It's those damn liberal Obama lovin' environmentalist!!! Mike ya have a bias!!


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