Ask Barack Obama For Whatever You Want

- November 12th, 2012

WeThePeople

 

Look, Barack Obama is not Santa Claus — but you can still ask him for whatever you want.

 

Remember, Santa doesn’t give you everything you want, either — but there’s no harm in asking, right?

 

What I’m talking about here is a little bit of social media engineering the Obama Administration does on its www.whitehouse.gov website.

 

Hidden away on the White House website is a section called “We the People …” which gives anyone (well, American voters are the target audience but more about that later) the chance to start a petition asking for presidential action on any issue — and gives everyone else the chance to sign that petition (within a specific time frame).

 

Not a bad idea. It gives people (primarily the American people) a direct pipeline to the president and it creates a forum for both protest and groundswell populist initiatives.

 

Nothing, as far as I am aware, has ever actually happened as a result of one of these online petitions — but it can always be a starting point in a long, complex process of political action.

 

Right now, most of the petitions up on “We the People…” are demands for secession — peaceful secession, of course — from states that voted solidly Republican in last week’s presidential election. There are currently, I believe, petitions from 23 … oops, 24 … states on the website seeking secession — and most of them have the same template language.

 

“We petition the Obama Administration to:

 

“Peacefully grant the State of  ———– to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government (etc.,etc.) …”

 

Most of these petitions have only a few thousand signatures, compared to tens of thousands for a wide variety of other issues. But Texas has more than 46,000 signatures on its petition — the highest number of signatures for any of the petitions currently on the website. Well, Texas used to be its own republic, so I guess it makes sense.

 

The next highest number of signatures is on a petition asking the Obama Administration to “support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).” 37,941 last time I looked.

 

After that comes the petition to “outlaw offending prophets of major religions.” 36,546.

 

Then a couple which I don’t quite understand (my ignorance, not the complexity of the issues) to “remove the monument and not to support any international harassment related to this issue against the people of Japan” and “persuade South Korea (the ROK) to accept Japan’s proposal on territorial dispute over islets.”

 

Sandwiched in between is the petition to “require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.” (A concept I’m firmly in support of, by the way.)

 

Then there’s the petition to “not allow the FDA to regulate premium cigars.” Huh? You want to smoke killer toxins? Oh, right, that’s what cigars are. Or is it the fact that Cuban cigars — outlawed in the U.S. — are still considered the only truly “premium” cigars? Politics and what people put in their bodies seem to come together quite a bit in these petitions.

 

And there are some strange ones, like the petition to “help free D. Randall Blythe from Prage (sic), Czech Republic, where he is falsely accused of commiting manslaughter.”

 

Turns out Blythe is the singer for an American heavy metal band called Lamb of God. In 2010, during a club performance in Prague, Blythe pushed an aggressive audience member from the stage. The teenage fan, Daniel Nosek, hit his head and died of brain trauma a few weeks later.

 

Unaware of Nosek’s death after the stage confrontation, the band returned to Prague in June 2012 — and Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Bail was set at (roughly) $200,000, then upped to (roughly) $400,000 and Blythe was finally released in August, immediately leaving the Czech Republic (promising to return for his trial).

 

Between his arrest and release, 28,412 people signed the White House petition asking for help in freeing Blythe from Czech custody. The $400,000 bail was a bigger number than the 28,412 signatures. I don’t think Randy Blythe will be going back to the Czech Republic any time soon.

 

So let’s get back to how you sign up for a petition on the White House website.

 

It’s really only supposed to be for American citizens. You provide your e-mail address, your name and your zip code. Then the White House sends you an e-mail and — if you respond — you’re signed up and able to add your name to a petition, or even start a new one.

 

Since I have dual citizenship — U.S. and Canada — I used a zip code for the American city of my birth (Greensboro, N.C.), but I guess anyone outside the U.S. could just make up a zip code to take part in the great American democratic experiment. Not that I’m advising that. But you could. If you really wanted.

 

I just don’t know what difference it makes. Does President Barack Obama read any of these online petitions? I don’t know. I image if a petition got hundreds of thousands of signatures, his advisers would say, “Hey, take a look at this!”

 

I haven’t done anything about it yet, but i’m seriously thinking about starting a White House petition that goes something like this:

 

“We petition the Obama Administration to …

 

“Peacefully grant the State of Canada to withdraw from the United States of America (Empire) and create its own NEW government…”

 

That’s where I was going to end, but I see a new petition has just popped up on the website. It only has 226 signatures so far but I think it deserves serious consideration.

 

The new petition asks President Barack Obama to “grant a full pardon to Chris Williams, a man facing 80 years in prison for legally growing Medical Marijuana.”

 

I think there will be a lot more than 226 signatures on that petition by the time it closes. Is Barack Obama listening?

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1 comment

  1. Will says:

    And while you’re at it, why not ask ObamaClaus to rid Canada of the British monarchy.

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