The Wacky World of White House Petitions
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — In 2011, the First Amendment and the 21st century came together in the form of petitions.whitehouse.gov, a tool created by President Barack Obama’s administration that allows anyone with an internet connection to send petitions directly to the White House.
No one can know if the person who recently submitted a petition asking for the national anthem to be changed to R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” was serious or not. Either way, it has more than 8,000 signatures.
That one has gotten plenty of attention lately, but many other bizarre requests have been made since the website launched.
One example: “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.”
The official White House response to that one includes several reasons for rejection.
“The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000,” it reads. “We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.”
And, as if all those zeros weren’t reason enough for the “no,” the retort also ensured that the Obama administration “does not support blowing up planets.” Well, that’s a relief.
Petitions that have expired due to lack of signatures asked the White House to officially recognize Sasquatch as an indigenous species, to nationalize the Twinkie industry and to build a statue of a character from the video game Halo on the White House lawn.
Separate petitions have been created for the legalization of marijuana, “magic mushrooms” and polygamy. One asked for the implementation of a national holiday recognizing Michael Jackson.
A currently open appeal asks the administration to, verbatim, “Admit that these petitions are just going to be ignored.”
Only time will tell the fate of each request, but the site does have a few rules that can hinder their success.
A petition must get 150 signatures in order to be publicly searchable on the site, and must have 100,000 signatures before a set deadline in order to prompt a White House response.
See the full list of current petitions here.
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