Outraged? Disaffected? Believe me, there's a petition for that

Used to be, the main drawback of launching a nationwide protest was that you just couldn’t manage to fit it into your daily schedule.

Sure, you’d love to spur massive societal change. But after you leave your 9-to-5 job, drop off the dry-cleaning, pick up the kids from karate practice and scarf down dinner just in time for the new episode of Duck Dynasty, honestly, who has the time?

All that has changed. Now you can just launch an online petition.

Heaven knows everyone else has.

THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. A petition in Wichita, Kan., is calling for an abortion clinic to stay closed. A petition in Middlesboro, Ky., wants to keep school-system health clinics from shrinking or closing. A petition in St. Regis, Mont., is expressing a no-confidence vote against its school board. A petition in Derry Township, Pa., is pushing to stop the opening of a Chipotle chain restaurant in a historic neighborhood.

Do petitions work? Why, of course they do, according to the utterly unbiased website thepetitionsite.com, touting itself as “the No. 1 petition site in the world.”

“The more people speak out – via online and real-life communities, social media and citizen journalism – the more an issue is noticed, and the less an issue can be ignored,” the site says. “Governments, corporations and societies are forced to listen and make changes.”

Or not. Ask the 2,480 folks who thought the name Georgia Regents University was a wretched idea and signed an online petition calling to merge Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University under the more euphonious name “University of Augusta.” No dice. The last optimistic person seemed to have signed the petition Dec. 29, probably weeks after officials had selected the colors for GRU faculty stationery.

If you’re one of the dozen or so people who watch Piers Morgan on CNN, you might have seen him chatting last week with a guy named Alex Jones. Why? Jones started an online petition calling for Morgan’s deportation back to his native Britain because of his views on gun control.

Jones filed his petition on the increasingly popular “We the People” section of the White House’s website. You can, too. And the White House promises if a petition garners enough signatures, “White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.”

I LAUGHED out loud, too. But the White House actually has responded, most recently regarding three petitions calling for marijuana legalization. (Spoiler alert: It’s still “no.”)

A lot of the petition’s subjects go downhill from there. Here are some of the others:

• “Publicly admit and disclose all information about extraterrestrial beings, our true history and peaceful technologies.” Is that all?

• “Authorize the production of a recurring television program featuring Vice President Joe Biden.” Like, Here Comes Joey Boo Boo?

• “Direct the United States Mint to make a single platinum trillion-dollar coin.” Because so many people are sick of lugging around all those billion-dollar coins.

• “Ban Dianne Feinstein.” Yes, the U.S. senator from California. No, I don’t know how you go about “banning” a senator.

• “Assign NASA to do a feasibility study and conceptual design of the Gen1 USS Enterprise interplanetary spaceship.” Yes, the totally fictional spaceship from Star Trek. And sweet fancy Moses, they even have a website – BuildTheEnterprise.org.

• “Ask Gov. Jerry Brown to give California ferret owners a fair hearing.” I – what?

And all the nutty petitions come full circle with a petition that kind of has figured the whole thing out: “Shut down the White House Petitions website.”

So I can’t pass up this opportunity. It’s right there at the tail end of our Constitution’s First Amendment: an American’s right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So I’ve started my own White House petition. It’s titled “Stop the spread of frivolous petitions.” It reads:

“THE WHITE House’s ‘We the People’ petition website unfortunately has been swamped with rash, ill-conceived and frivolous proposals that clearly contradict the more serious intent of the First Amendment to allow citizens to ‘petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ Petitions asking to study the feasibility of constructing a fictional spacecraft from the television show Star Trek, or asking California’s governor to give ‘a fair hearing’ to ferret owners, abuses and mocks one of the Founding Fathers’ many constitutional gifts to America. This petition calls for clearly untenable petitions to be categorized as ‘Officially Flaky’ by designated, qualified White House staff, yet preserved on the website in the interest of free speech and for humor purposes.”

The web link to the petition is http://wh.gov/PGW4 if you’re inclined to sign it. I’m betting that, according to thepetitionsite.com, the powers-that-be will be “forced to listen and make changes.”

Or not.

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Riverman1 01/13/13 - 03:15 am
Yeah, but..

Maybe so, but I do think the Internet has changed the world and will continue to do so in even more dramatic fashion.

soapy_725 01/13/13 - 05:44 pm
The IT world has added another layer

of human to human separation. Chit chat doesn't fit the screen. Conversation for the sake of communicating with another human voice is lost. We no longer need eye contact to express sincerity. No more hugs and kisses. Just a montage of acronyms to be learned instead of English grammar.

good or evil. Time will prove. "It here", as the little girl stated.

And for the Biblical minded , IT has reversed God's confusion of language. The ultimate creation of separate tribes. If we could just get on the same page, we could solve all of mankind's problems? We can all speak and understand the "binary word". We can all buy "The Dragon" and never have to pick up a pen or hit a keyboard again. "Just bow down and worship me and I will give you all of the kingdoms of the world." Will we again try to ascend to the throne of heaven since we have a common way of communication?

Criminalized by Calif Dept of Fish and Game
FAIR hearing for ferrets owners NOT "Frivilous"!

Before an editor makes a comment on something he knows NOTHING about, perhaps he should investigate. When you keep getting stonewalled by your state gov't, as CA ferret owners have for over 20 years, you go a step above. Hence the petition Mr. Hotchkiss.

In 1933 a law was passed to prohibit non-native predatory wildlife in California. The DOMESTIC ferret is not "wildlife" and this law should not be applied to ferrets, yet they were included by oversight. A house cat is a also "non-native predator", yet millions of cats live in Calif because they are 'domesticated'. The ferret ban can be changed by Fish & Game commission vote or legislation, and there have been six attempts at a bill to do so since 1994. Violations of the law are misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months, or by a fine of not more than $1,000.

It's time to change that. People should not be criminalized for owning a ferret, the third most common uncaged pet in North America.

YES, ferrets owners deserve a fair hearing. If they have to go to the federal gov't to illicit change- so be it.

LegalizeFerrets dot org!

SickoftheIgnorant 01/14/13 - 12:48 am
Fair hearing for CA ferret owners

Really Mr Hotchkiss, have you considered stepping out of your tiny little corner of the earth and checking facts before you start babbling off at the keyboard?
The California pet ferret issue has been going on for a couple decades now, a ridiculous example of bureaucratic state government gone wild. It would seem you are not a pet owner, or you would understand why Californians are upset about this very real issue. Not surprising that they would petition their federal government for help when their state government has blatantly ignored all reasonable petitions for redress over the past 30 years.
Sometimes Mr Hotchkiss, it is better to just keep your mouth shut and let people think you are ignorant, than to open it and remove all doubt.

tickledpink 01/14/13 - 04:02 am
About the petition for

About the petition for ferrets - you should do some research before belittling an issue. Ferrets are beloved animals to their owners and people who have been trying to get them legalize have been turned down or ignored by most government agencies. Most people don't even know that ferrets are illegal in CA or that people have been trying for years to get them legalized. The petition is a good way to get people to take some notice and for us to hopefully be heard.

Catgrin 01/17/13 - 12:13 am
48 states agree, but California fails to do so.

Mr. Hotchkiss, CA is the only contiguous United state that bans ferrets, and it's doing so thanks to an appointed council that's run by members who won't even follow through with the proper procedure to change the legal status of ferrets from "wild" to "domestic" - which would remove them from the DFG's control. This is happening in a state which even considers zebras to be domestic animals!

California ferret owners' attempts to change state law have been stonewalled for years. Last year, we raised over $10,000 to complete an Environmental Impact Report which showed that ferrets present no concern environmentally to the state. (This was supported by information gathered from the 48 states where ferrets are legal, through their Fish and Game groups.) After being requested as the first step toward changing state law, it was left unread by the DFG. They simply won't accept that science is on our side. Basically, we're dealing with bullies who aren't elected and so we have no recourse with them. Our Governor won't help, and as this seems so unimportant, local officials don't want to get involved. It's not "flashy" enough to make news or a politician's career.

Meanwhile, CA loses money to nearby states where people opt to buy, treat, and relocate their ferrets if they're caught. Some people have even told us that they've opted to live in states other than CA to be able to keep their pets. CA suffers for having this useless law.

I recommend you spend some time on YouTube viewing the search terms "Department Fish Game ferrets" and then maybe instead of mocking us, you might add your voice to our own frustrated ones, and maybe even help us try to reach our goal.


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