Petitions are the American way. They’re the voice of the public, and sometimes they’re all we have to fight back against fat-cat lobbyists and greedy corporate meddlers (yes, Koch Brothers, I’m talking about you). And did you know that you can petition the government yourself using the We the People service of the White House? Sweet.
All you need to do is take a trip to the We the People website to get started. When I learned of this, I started mulling over creating a petition of my own (will I try to free captive killer whales? Fight back against Monsanto? Hmmmmm). Although I’m not quite ready to take plunge yet, I couldn’t fight the curiosity so I decided to check out the process.
It was pretty easy: enter a name and email address, check a box to receive emails from Obama (hell yes!) and then solve a simple Captcha code. I failed the Captcha the first time, but nailed it on the second try. Then I verified the account through my email, and went on to the next step: create a headline and choose a category.
Here’s where I stopped for now. But judging by the clean, responsive layout, this process seems far simpler than, say, enrolling for Obamacare. Then I did a bit of digging, and found that the White House has its own video instructions for starting a petition on We the People:
After even more digging, I learned that someone used the site to file a petition to deport Justin Bieber, and that this petition earned more than 100,000 signatures — the minimum you need for the government to respond. I’m assuming they’ll side with Bieber on this one, but you never know.
Though the Bieber thing is a clear (and amusing) abuse of the system, I really dig the We the People concept. I like that our government has opened a window that allows anyone with a voice to get through to the political elite. Hopefully the petitioner has strong social media skills along with that voice, because it could be tough to get 100,000 signatures. Still, I’m on board.