A Petition to End Petitions

I could hardly agree more with this petition on the Obama administration’s We the People website, which asks the administration to shut down the petition website because, in reality, it’s a colossal joke that offers nothing more than the illusion — obvious to everyone, of course — that they actually give a damn.

Since the White House never actually responds to any petitions in sincerity (like letting the one man whose job it is to oppose marijuana to respond to the marijuana legalization initiative, or having the head of the TSA respond to why we can’t de-fund the TSA) we should immediately de-fund and dismantle the White House petition website.

In recent days it has become a mockery with petitions for secession from almost every state, and cities wishing to de-secede in such events.

We ask Barack Obama to admit that this is a mockery of democratic process and immediately dissolve this joke of a website.

I’m not going to bother signing it because that would only duck into the punch. So please, people, stop asking me to sign these petitions. They do nothing but give you the illusion that you’re actually doing something about a problem.

20 comments on this post.
  1. Brett McCoy:

    If the White House responds to a petition with “No”, is that not a sincere response? Or better yet, maybe they should respond with “Sod off, you git”.

  2. reverendrodney:

    You mean, form letters are not sincere? My feelings are hurt!

  3. Michael Heath:

    I continue to be optimistic that petitions to the White House and even some misc. Internet petitions will eventually become effective.

    I don’t think I’ve ever solicited Ed to sign one, at least not that I recall. If I did it would have been in a comment post.

  4. cottonnero:

    “I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.”

  5. steve oberski:

    Think of petitions like prayer, some times god says “yes”, sometimes “no” and sometimes “maybe later”.

    So no matter what the outcome, the petition has been responed to.

  6. Comradde PhysioProffe:

    Where do I sign!?!?!?

  7. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞:

    Michael Heath:
    Is your optimism justified or wishful thinking?

  8. Michael Heath:

    Tony to me:

    Is your optimism justified or wishful thinking?

    Neither, where there’s no way to make a confident prediction about the future efficacy of petitions in the future using your framework.

    I instead see petitions as an emerging democratic component where the long-term pattern is the expansion of democracy. I don’t think my speculation is sufficient to justify my inclination regarding the future, but it’s at least a rational notion given other democratic expressions which are enjoying an increased impact.

  9. timberwoof:

    There was a petition a while back that requested Obama to address a freethinker position: it was ignored and, IIRC, caused an increase in the threshold needed to take a petition seriously. The petition site is a shredder disguised as a suggestion box.

  10. abb3w:

    Digital “big block of cheese day”.

  11. d.c.wilson:

    I had thought the petition drive became a joke with the petition for the government to reveal everything it knows about UFOs.

  12. imthegenieicandoanything:

    If such petitions are meaningless, why petition to stop such petitions?

    Ha!

    I got a question that proves that “God” doesn’t exist either! It involves a big rock!

  13. Scott F:

    Hey, if the White House is interested in hearing different ideas directly from individuals, that sounds like a good thing. Sure, you get a lot of chaff and a lot of stupid, but within that mountain of dross there might be those occasional nuggets of good ideas. I’m willing to give the White House the chance to have that one “Aha!!” moment. Trying to think outside the Beltway box sure beats an insular, close minded cabal that knows what it knows, and doesn’t bother worrying about reality.

    The very fact that there are secessionist petitions out there suggests that there is still a lot of dissatisfaction and poorly directed angst. If nothing else, it implies that they need to get the “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” on more right-wing talk shows.

    How is this process different from an open-ended and public poll, except that you cut out the middle man?

    I say keep it up, and learn to deal with and filter the drivel.

  14. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven:

    Hey, if the White House is interested in hearing different ideas directly from individuals, that sounds like a good thing. Sure, you get a lot of chaff and a lot of stupid, but within that mountain of dross there might be those occasional nuggets of good ideas. I’m willing to give the White House the chance to have that one “Aha!!” moment. Trying to think outside the Beltway box sure beats an insular, close minded cabal that knows what it knows, and doesn’t bother worrying about reality.

    The problem, as you would know if you read for comprehension, is that they’ve made it pretty damn clear they’re NOT interested, just desire to create the illusion of being interested.

  15. godlesspanther:

    Paradoxes ought to be illegal.

  16. criticaldragon1177:

    Ed Brayton,

    I wouldn’t give up on them, sometimes they’re the only thing anyone can do to get there voices heard, plus what makes you think they’re never effective. I will admit through that some of them are really stupid and few the petitions might even be meant as jokes, like this one.

    Transfer funds from the drug war to fund the research and development of the genetic engineering of domestic cat girls.
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/transfer-funds-drug-war-fund-research-and-development-genetic-engineering-domestic-cat-girls/3V3hnsHx

  17. dave:

    How can you say the petition process doesnt work? It got the top secret White House Ale recipie released! https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/ale-chief-white-house-beer-recipe

  18. wilsim:

    One pair of hands lifted in work does more than a million hands clicking “sign” on a white house petition.

  19. matty1:

    In another life I was involved in sorting correspondence for a local council who were consulting on the route for a new road. The general rule was that each opinion is considered separately but there was no extra attention given based on the number of people who agreed. In other words ten letters count for more than one letter with twenty names on the bottom.

    The thinking being that people with a strong opinion would write in themselves but people sign petitions for reasons going from ‘yes I agree enthusiastically’ to ‘anything to stop you badgering me to sign’ so they are less valuable as a measure of public opinion. I suspect a similar attitude extends to the civil servants who process petitions on government websites and of course I assume that random internet petitions are probably never even seen by anyone in authority.

  20. bradleybetts:

    @imthegenieicandoanything #12

    “I got a question that proves that “God” doesn’t exist either! It involves a big rock!”

    What’s wrong with the rock question? I thought it was pretty good!

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