With petitions a part of life, you have to wonder what went wrong along our evolutionary path when the White House opened a “We the People” forum. Available on the White House website, we’re now living in an era where filing a petition is as simple as signing in and writing your grievance. Once you receive 100,000 signatures, it’s sent to the White House for serious consideration of being signed by the President. But has the whole procedure been tainted recently after petitions for Justin Bieber clogged the system?
In case you aren’t aware, a petition was created earlier this year on the “We the People” page that asked for America to deport Bieber after his seemingly cavalier use of throwing eggs on someone’s abode. The cumulative effect of other Bieber events and being a negative impact on his teenage fans led to well over the 100,000 signatures needed to get President Obama to enact the petition. However, despite well over a quarter of a million signatures, the Obama camp refused to sign the petition citing that Bieber had too positive of an effect on the U.S. economy.
Many might consider that a slap in the face to the petition process. Still others might think the petition process online is now tainted because of the Bieber petition being far from the only one if you’ve ever been on the “We the People” site. In fact, you’ll be bound to find far too many petitions that border on the ridiculous. Is this going to scare off those who think they have something serious that could make a huge difference?
Will Your Petition Get Lost in All the Satire?
Once you’ve perused the “We the People” site, you’ll realize that some people are intent on using the site strictly for satire petitions. You can see examples of that through such tripe as “Get (sic) Alaska Back to Russia” or “Reform Sex Education.” Within those few, you’ll still see quite serious ones, even if they seem too ambitious to really make any difference once past 100,000 signatures. Others are even quite intriguing and hard to argue with, including one recent petition stating “SCOTUS no longer rules by the Constitution, and we want investigations into the money behind the judges.”
As of this writing, all the Bieber petitions have finally gone away considering they all have time limits. Many of the others came close 100,000 signatures to show you how adamant some people are for topics that likely won’t be enacted anyway. Some are even ironic, particularly in attempts to impeach President Obama, something the President would have to sign with his own hand.
With many of those petitions seemingly useless, it might dissuade you from wanting to put a serious petition up there that could truly make a difference. So far, many of the responses from the White House have been ones turning down any that gathered more than 100,000 signatures, usually for good logic and legal reasons. In that regard, it may be turning more into a place to show the pulse of America rather than get anything accomplished.
The Widening Support for Many Causes
What might encourage you is the amount of signatures most of those petitions are getting. Even the most ridiculous ones get multiple hundreds of signatures. You can see all of those who support the petition at the bottom of the petition’s page. Signers are all anonymous, except for their initials and their home city and state. Some might be concerned that they’d still be scoped out based on the correlation between initials and town. Then again, not all petitions should have to be signed anonymously.
The danger here is that so many unintentionally funny petitions may soon fill the space that the White House could potentially shut the page down. While it’s far from that now, is it going to be a place to merely get some entertainment or to be serious about making real change in America?
If nothing else, you know where to go if you want to deport the next pop star that comes from a different country and pelts homes with eggs.