“If a petition gathers enough online signatures, it will be reviewed by policy experts and you’ll receive an official response.”
– Katelyn Sabochik, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, September 22 2011
This is the important promise made by “We The People”, the official online petition website of Obama administration. The promise is a public relations coup; in an age when government agents listen in on our conversations but dissenters get shoved into “free speech zones” placed where nobody can see or hear, the potential for the Obama administration to read and respond to the words of us little people is charming and suggests the promise of an inclusive political future.
But as I wrote on July 28, the Obama administration hadn’t bothered to answer five petitions, despite the fact that these five petitions had met the Obama administration’s official threshold. They are:
Nearly two months later, the Obama administration has only responded to one of these petitions: #3, the petition on Malaysia. President Barack Obama and his staff continue to ignore the other four petitions, letting them languish unanswered month after month.
But let’s be realistic. Yes, it’s important to be realistic. Realistically speaking, neither President Obama nor his staff have any time to answer the petitions of hundreds of thousands of Americans. They have gala high-dollar fundraisers to attend. Someone strike up “Hail to the Chief.”