Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting involved

I'm now the BSL person ("Director of Legislative Affairs") for the Love-A-Bull pit bull group here in Austin. Very cool. I've wanted to do something more local and hands-on for a while, and now I get the chance.

We're facing BSL in the legislature this year in Texas, so I'm getting prepared. Flyers, handouts, and possibly some presentations.

It's amazingly hard to get people to actually do stuff, even simple things like call their reps. But change only happens when you act. You can't just join a group and then brush your hands off. What's the point of that?

People always say "Well, I'm just so busy." So what? I'm busy too. We're all busy. You're telling me you can't take three minutes to dial a phone and say "Please don't support HB 925."? It takes longer to order a pizza, for crying out loud.

A while ago, I posted a notice announcing that I needed help with the daily postings for my BSL site. Seriously, it takes me several hours a day, every day of the week. Sometimes I need a break, sometimes I'm on a trip and I can't post, and sometimes I have a real job to attend to. Is it so much to ask for volunteers to assist with posting?

It wasn't too much to ask, apparently, but it was too much to expect that anyone would hang around. I got dozens of cheerful responses, offers of assistance--lots of people willing to help. But that's as far as they went. When it came down to actually doing the job, only one person lasted longer than a week. I'm on my own again.

Similarly, when I asked for help writing some static pages, which is a limited commitment to a single topic, only one person has ever come through for me. And she's done a bang-up job, but still, out of all the people who said they would happily help, she's the only one who actually did.

Why offer to help if you're not really going to? I can understand why some people might do it--to feel altruistic--but all talk and no action is really just the opposite of altruistic. It's quite selfish and obnoxious.


Rinalia said...

I maintain a livejournal community called stop_bsl (honestly, I had no clue your site existed, so I didn't mean to co-opt the name). I'm updating with much the same stuff, though there are periods where work and dogs and life get in the way of updating. I feel your pain, as even though there's 200+ members of the community, I'm pretty much the only one who posts.

In any event, if you need some help, I'd be happy to oblige. I certainly cannot commit to several hours a day, but I can commit to a reasonable number of hours per week. If you are interested, let me know - my email is violetcows (at) comcast (dot) net.

Good job getting more involved. I do a lot of legislative work on animal issues (special emphasis on farmed animals) and so i understand your frustration at the "apathy" of people. People want to help, but they also want it to be very, very easy (hence why organizations use so many form letters and automatic senders). Even calling a rep is intimidating, less so if it's an automated call.

Anyhoo, sorry for the blathering!!


Allison (Dog Mom) said...

Good for you!

Sorry to say that this happens a lot. I think it's a combination of several issues. My main 2:

1. People really have good intentions, but don't really think through their commitments before saying "yes" to something. I think, if people actually gave an honest response to someone, we'd have less backing out for responsibilities.
2. People like to have their name on "causes" for the recognition, but don't want to have to do actual hard work for it.

I hope you'll have good luck, and not run into either of these kinds of people.

Gus and Waldo's mom

happypitbull said...

Thanks, Marji. I might take you up on your offer. I'm doing okay with the workload at the moment, but I'm a bit concerned about what will happen if I go on a trip. We're planning a two-week trip in early August that will take me away from the Internet. So if the trip becomes a reality, I might beg for your assistance while I'm gone. :)

(PS Don't worry about the name-stealing, lol. I've since learned that there are quite a few sites that use the same name. We're all on the same side, so I don't care.)

I realized when I re-read my post that it sounds a bit bitter... I just want to clarify something.

If people can't get involved, for whatever reason, it's TOTALLY COOL with me if they just can't help. Seriously, it's fine. I don't help every person who asks me. I couldn't possibly handle it. I know how to say "no" (or just avoid saying "yes" in the first place).

What makes me crazy is when people SAY they're going to help and then they don't. Honesty, reliability, and trust are vital to the smooth operation of any society. I wish people would understand the damage they do when they disappear from their commitments without a word. It's really inconsiderate.

Allison, I think you are totally right.