Click here for “Five White House Petitions You Should Know About.”
More than a year after it was launched, the White House “We the People” online petitions site has become a popular platform for Americans to raise issues they care about to the White House, hoping for a response. The Obama Administration guarantees a formal reply to any petition that reaches the threshold of 25,000 signatures.
In terms of content, the White House won’t tolerate threats of unlawful violence, obscenities, fraud, defamation, degrading slurs, or invasions of privacy. You can’t use a petition to make money, nor can you endorse or oppose a political candidate (but it is OK to call for the president’s impeachment as 41,593 people have done). But aside from that, as long as it is related to matters of federal interest, Americans can ask the Administration for an answer.
Most petitions are extremely serious. There are currently 438 active ones, with a recent surge in appeals related to gun control or other aspects of the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy last week.
A few petitions are a little more offbeat, or downright silly. Some get removed for violating the terms of participation, and for others, despite attracting a good number of co-signers, it’s pretty certain they won’t be turned into law. Here’s a sampling.
US Should Build the Death Star
Online petitioners secured more than 25,000 votes in a month, which is necessary to get a formal response from the White House, for building the Death Star—a staple of the “Star Wars” franchise—by 2016.
“By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense,” the petition reads.
According to a report from the Daily Telegraph earlier this year, it was estimated by economists that to construct the Death Star, it would cost about $879 trillion in raw materials to construct. That is more than 13,000 times the gross domestic product of Earth.
Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America
There isn’t any text here other than the title, but the initiative is likely in response to the numerous petitions posted on the White House’s site about allowing a certain state to withdraw from the United States.
The state withdrawal petition that closed with the most signatures is “peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” with 120,990 people signing on.
Five other petitions from southern states also reached the 25,000 vote threshold needed to guarantee a response: Louisiana (37,744), Georgia (32,707), Tennessee (31,717), Alabama (30,785) South Carolina (25,261).
The bid to deport people who have signed the other petitions garnered 28,091 votes before closing on December 12. It is completely unclear where the petitioners would like the offending signatories to be deported to.
Place the DC ‘Taxation Without Representation’ License Plate on the Presidential Limousine.
In the District of Columbia, home to the White House and all capitol buildings, residents pay taxes and can be conscripted, but do not have a vote in Congress.
The wording of this petition notes that in 2000, D.C. voted to put “Taxation Without Representation” on the district license plates motto to register the “injustice experienced by more than 600,000 Americans who live in the capital city.”
“We ask that the Administration place the Taxation Without Representation plates on his vehicle prior to the inauguration so the nation will clearly understand the political reality in DC,” reads the petition.
As of Dec. 20, there were 588 signatures on the petition, which closes on Jan.18, 2013.
Remove Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
After dealing with years of mediocre teams since Dallas Cowboys’ heyday of the 1990s, fans called on the White House to remove Jerry Jones, the flamboyant owner of the team. The Cowboys have won only one game (against the Philadelphia Eagles in January 2010) since 1996 and many Dallas fans have pinned the team’s woeful performances on Jones, who also doubles as the general manager.
The petition, which was created last month, was removed for being in violation of the Terms of Participation.
“We, the Citizens of the Great State of Texas, and Dallas Cowboys fans worldwide, have been oppressed by an over controlling, delusional, oppressive dictator for way too long,” it reads, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“Request the Executive Branch’s immediate assistance in removal of owner and GM, Jerry Jones. His incompetence and ego have not only been an extreme disappointment for way too long, but moreover, it has caused extreme mental and emotional duress.”
Allow Military Personnel The Right to Put Hands in Their Pockets
This petition was created by several soldiers who were tried of not being allowed to use their pockets, and gathered 5,000 signatures before it expired on Dec. 7, failing to meet the threshold. The text is still available via the Military Times.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all uniforms have pockets and hands fit perfectly inside them, and they sheathe our knife hands gloriously. It must be acknowledged that placing one’s hands in one’s pockets is not a sign of disrespect, but a precautionary action to prevent injuries,” the petition reads.
Josh B., a sergeant with the Army National Guard, told the Military Times: “I’d like to emphasize that this is a brilliant opportunity for service members to affect the way the military is run on a level that hasn’t been available before.”
Request Actor Nicolas Cage to Stop Making Movies
After likely watching movies such as “The Wicker Man” and “Deadfall,” the creator of this petition has seen enough of actor Nicholas Cage.
“In the past five years alone, actor Nicolas Kim Coppola (aka Nicholas Cage) has released 16 films released to theaters. The average rating of these films, from Rotten Tomatoes, is 33 percent. This is vastly inflated by the top three scoring movies; which when removed, returns an average rating of nearly 24 percent,” the petitioner reasons.
The creator said that while Cage, who won an Academy Award in 1995′s “Leaving Las Vegas,” has starred in some excellent films, they are “few and far between.” “Why should we be submitted to such painful cinematic experiences as ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ or ‘Season of the Witch,’” it says.
Created on Dec. 19, after two days of surviving on the site it managed to collect 1 signature.
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