As many of you may or may not know, the White House has a system whereby anyone can ” . . . petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Loosely translated, as it surely is, this means you can ask for just about anything your little ol’ pea-pickin’ heart desires even if what you really mean by “grievance” is “I wanna”. However, there’s a catch or, should I say, a couple of catches.
First of all, you need to create an account at Whitehouse.gov. This is so, regardless of the aluminum foil on your windows and the tin foil hat blocking those priceless brainwaves of yours, the government will be able to track you down and whisk you away in a black helicopter to an undisclosed and unknowable location where people like you can be dealt with appropriately.
OK, so I made that up . . . though it’s true if you’re a member of the Tea Party. Maybe it’s true. More likely, petitioning the government for a redress of grievances is serious business, shouldn’t be taken lightly, and there has to be a way to keep people from signing petitions more than once. This seems eminently reasonable, don’t you think? Never mind. It’s a rhetorical question.
Also, there are two thresholds that must be reached for a petition to be taken seriously. The first is that it must get 150 signatures within 30 days for it to be searchable on WhiteHouse.gov’s site. The second is that it must reach 25,000 signatures within the next 30 days for it to receive a response, though the administration reserves the right to answer at a lower participation if it deems it appropriate.
Why am I telling you this? Well, actually not because I’m cajoling you to participate. Don’t get me wrong, I think participatory democracy is important, maybe even essential, but my feeling is this is even more important. No . . . this is a rather long-winded way of sharing my favorite petition with you and, more importantly, the answer it received.
The administration asks that each petition complete the following phrase, “We believe the Obama administration should . . . “. Recently a petition completed that phrase as follows – “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016” – and received 34,435 signature, reaching the second critical threshold and requiring an answer. The answer was entitled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” and begins:
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
- The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
- The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
. . .
You can read the rest, which is well worth your time (especially if you’re a dweebed-out space cadet like I am), at the site. I think it’s a – you’ll pardon the expression – stellar response.