Politics

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
petitions, white house



White House, Tiring of Death Stars And Deportation Requests, Ups 'We The People' Signature Threshold From 25,000 To 100,000

from the 4chan-says:-challenge-accepted! dept

The White House has just raised the signature threshold at the "We the People" website from 25,000 to 100,000, no doubt in an attempt to trim down the number of Death Star/deportation/secession/impeachment petitions it must respond to. (Why no one thought to kill two birds with one stone and exile Piers Morgan to the newly-seceded Republic of Texas is beyond me.) Of course, it's been very selective in answering petitions up to this point, making the signature threshold essentially meaningless, but let's try to view the positive aspects.

The new level will only apply to petitions going forward, meaning that those that met the previous threshold level will still be ignored/glad-handed in the administration's consistently arbitrary fashion. While this new level looks at first glance to be the sort of workload easing common to entrenched government entities, the fact is that We the People's traffic has doubled over the past two months. According to the numbers posted, petitions are passing the 25,000 signature threshold within five days, which is a bit of a problem when over 70,000 petitions get crafted in less than 60 days.

In fact, a petition to lower the count "for taking us seriously" back to the previous level has already gathered over 1,500 signatures (in less than a day), possibly sending the White House on a collision course with some sort of signature threshold loop. (Not that this system actually works like that, but it's fun to pretend...)


Unsurprisingly, the top three petition categories are Civil Rights, Government Reform and Human Rights, suggesting that the American people are very unhappy with the ongoing rights erosion in this country -- and that they know where to start fixing this. Of course, the administration has been more than willing to route around obstacles like the Bill of Rights, so several thousand e-signatures isn't exactly going to break it of this habit. But, if any politician is interested in catching up on the issues their constituents actually care about, they could do worse than taking a long, hard look at petitions from these three categories.

While it's far from a perfect system, it's the best we've got, as they say. Raising the threshold level should result in more petitions with broader support receiving responses, barring any sort of 4chan-esque ballot stuffing. Even if many of the responses tend to be talking-point heavy and come across as a bit "canned," at least some of those petitioning the government will be able to walk away (angrily, most likely) from the experience with some sort of closure. The administration does need to be more responsive -- both in number of petitions responded to and in the quality of the answers. Talking points may be great when delivering a "top down" stump speech, but they don't really stand up to the sort of scrutiny the internet can deliver.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2013 @ 11:51am

    I have little or no faith in this 'We the people'. The site has morphed from one where they wanted to hear what people wanted to one to push the current admin's wish list.

    The first one passing dealt with marijuana, which was very carefully danced around with the standard, canned, official position response. It had all the look and feel of having been copied from a speech somewhere. It followed shortly after with action against the marijuana dispensaries in California.

    The thing is the response didn't consider the validity of the petition. It only considered the official position. That told me right then that they were not serious about hearing what concerned people but rather pushing the official line.

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