The White House petitions page is the federal government's version of a comments section. Let us explain.
So, today a Star Wars-themed petition for the White House to draft a plan to start building a working Death Star by 2016 received its 25,000th "signature," which means the White House now has to formally acknowledge its existence and be like, "Guys, no, we're not going to build a Death Star."
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And while the statement from the White House will probably be almost funny, what's clear is that as transparent as the web-friendly Obama administration wants to be, this whole suggestion-box business is pretty useless. Other petitions that have gathered enough signatures for a response largely come from crazy people who want their state to secede from the union, or else they come from slightly more rational but still crazy people who want the seceders deported, or from people still bitter that Obama won, or from people still bitter about Obamacare passing, and from a bunch of people who want weed legalized.
We don't want to have a Death Star. That's kind of almost what we expect North Korea is trying to do instead of launching a nuclear missile. "Hahaha, short sighted Americans," they'll chortle from their space station of doom, if they can ever get something to stay in orbit. And while the free-speech aspect of it is great and all, nothing is ever going to come of these petitions. It's a place for people to go and air their grievances 365 days a year — instead of waiting for Festivus — and those places, these days, are usually reserved for comments on articles and blog posts. The White House knows the petitions are there, does anyone think the White House is actually listening?
Oh, and fderal government employees would like Christmas Eve off. Just letting you know.