We, the People have spoken. We have shouted from the rooftops, typed from our desktops, clicked from our laptops. We have visited the official White House petition website — nearly 3 million of us, to be precise — and exercised our First Amendment right to let our duly (and newly) re-elected President Barack Obama know exactly what we would like the federal government to accomplish, including and in no particular order:
1. Deport television talk host and British national Piers Morgan;
2. Formally acknowledge that space aliens are real, and have walked — probed? — among us;
3. Create a reality television series starring Vice President Joe Biden;
4. Mint a trillion-dollar coin featuring the likeness of Henry Winkler, the actor best known for portraying the The Fonz on “Happy Days”;
5. Begin construction of a real-life Death Star by 2016.
If all of the above sounds remarkably weird — well, except the Mr. Biden show, which sounds long-overdue — that’s because we’re a little weird ourselves. At least when it comes to our various, put-it-in-writing desires for federal action.
Since September of 2011, the Obama administration has invited the public to petition the government at a “We the People” area of the official White House website, promising that when a petition receives enough support — currently 25,000 electronic signatures within a 30-day window — Mr. Obama’s staff will review the request, send it to the appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.
Many of the resulting petitions have been predictable offshoots of longtime national-level policy debates, such as abolishing the Transportation Security Administration, establishing a flat tax and legalizing marijuana.