Okay, yes, the Jim’ll Fix It reference is a tad dark under the present circumstances, but it’s what the US government’s We the People website reminded me of.
The website was set up to allow people to voice their opinions and campaign for the federal government to change things. If a petition reaches 25,000 online signatures it will be looked into and receive a response from the White House. It’s quite a nice idea and part of a growing trend of trying to make it easier for your average Joe or Josephine to try and get their issues brought to the attention of those in charge.
Of course, it’s also online, which means there are bound to be some stupid ones as well, to show this mix, here’s a quick selection from the website (along with their current number of signatures):
- Declaring a grief awareness day (176)
- End daylight savings (1,162)
- Help get Idaho Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini home. Saeed has been detained by the Iranian government for his beliefs (749)
- Develop stamps to “depict, normalize and promote” breastfeeding (800)
- Return to a gold standard (1,234)
- Make Amazon add a “Made in America” tab to make it easier for people to buy American (1,963)
- Have NASA look into making an Enterprise style ship (5,881)
- Make a TV show about VP Joe Biden (2,124)
The reason I’m writing about them today is that petitions made on the site have been in the news recently. I’m going to look at 3 different petitions.
Let’s kick start with the secession petitions.
These started after the last presidential election when Obama returned to the White House, a bunch of sore losers in various states decided that they couldn’t live under Obama and wanted their states to pull out of the Union. Seriously, it has to be one of the least classy responses to losing in years, didn’t they ever get taught how to lose with a bit of grace and decorum?
It was a daft idea, but apparently they got quite a response, including 125,000 Texans who wanted the Lone Star state to go solo.
Other states included Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Louisiana. Hmm, odd that they’re predominantly Southern states. Weird, it’s like the US is made up of 2 different countries, maybe they should split that way? Have they tried that before?
Needless to say the White House responded that they appreciated that democracy can be “noisy and controversial” and that while they welcomed healthy debate they couldn’t let that tear them apart. Which is a nice, diplomatic way of saying “No way”.
It’s also an example of why I couldn’t be a politician as I don’t think I’d have the diplomacy or patience to respond in a mature way, my press conference would probably go something like this:
“Listen up, you primitive screwheads! I know you didn’t get the result you wanted but stop acting like a bunch of crybabies and playing the whole ‘fine, we’re not playing with you anymore’ bit. Show some basic decorum, you lost, suck it up and deal with it!”
That or I’d have declared Alabama (I’m just picking that as an example, any of the rebel states would work) an independent state and then attacked it because of all the guns the civillians have, taking it over and renaming it after myself.
The second petition that came to my attention was that some Yanks wanted to deport Piers Morgan. This would be bad news indeed for us Brits who are rather enjoying having Morgan on another continent for a while and thus distancing us from his particular brand of pompous, slimy douchebaggery.
Morgan has been talking gun control, a hot topic in the States, which meant that several gun activists decided that they might get rid of him and send him back to us. At which point Britain shuddered and for once regretted not having guns so readily available.
The White House dealt with it in quite a clever, classy move by asking the pro-gunners to remember the 1st Amendment of the constitution, the same document that they point to in order to justify the fact they can tool up like Nicholas Angel whenever they hear a noise downstairs. You can’t treat the 2nd Amendment as some kind of inarguable right without respecting and defending what else the constitution defends.
Morgan then got one of the petition supporters, broadcaster Alex Jones into the studio for an interview which is remarkable for two things- it manages to make Morgan seem likable and despite being pro-gun Jones makes a convincing case for why they might need more controls on firearms. Seriously, track down the video because Jones goes from normal to frothing at the mouth, utterly bats**t conspiracy theory ranting madman in record time.
This isn’t news as he’s previously been notorious for a frankly scary meltdown while discussing Justin Bieber, which you can see below. Seriously, I’m actually a little bit concerned for the guy. I’m all for cathartic releases and venting through the medium of rants, but this guy’s a little too intense.
The dude just comes across as this utter headcase. I wouldn’t trust him with scissors let alone a gun.
The third and final petition was the most light hearted with the White House stating that they will not be making a Death Star.
The best thing was the response, where a statement listed the reasons why the current administration won’t be going into the planet destroying space station business, and the reasons from the Science and Space Branch of the Office of Management and Budget are rather awesome:
- 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.
And best of all:
- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
So well done to Uncle Sam for showing a bit of a sense of humour and responding for our basic human need to use all technological advancement and new ideas for the trivial and geeky. Outstanding work all round on that one.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.