Originally published: October 11, 2011
Last updated: October 11, 2011 - 6:13pm
[Commentary] On September 22, 2011, the White House quietly launched the We the People petition website. The White House explained the website as follows:
“The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you.”
At launch, the public was told that if it got 5,000 signatures (subsequently increased to 25,000), White House staff would review the petition, send it to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response. The President should be applauded for launching this democratically enhancing but politically risky initiative. However, We The People will probably only have a short life. This is because the interests of the public and elected officials differ. The public is inclined to ask politicians to take controversial stands that politicians have no rational self-interest in taking. Most rational politicians avoid clearly or truthfully answering controversial questions like the plague for they know that they have more to lose than gain by doing so.
- Fewer online petitions posted to We the People website
- The Case of the Missing We The People Petitions
- The White House's We The People Petition Website: First Year Report Card
- Is Online Transparency Just a Feel-Good Sham?
- What Is the Democratic Function of the White House's We The People Petition Website?
- When The People Speak Is Anyone Listening?
- Happy Birthday, We the People! Marking Three Years of Online Petitions
- White House's 'We The People' Petitions Find Mixed Success
- One-third of We the People petitions are Six Months Old
- White House to petitioners: We ARE listening
- New White House petition seeks to legitimize DDoS attacks
- White House Drops First Names From We The People Petitions
- Making We the People More User-Friendly Than Ever
- Here are the 30 questions the White House doesn’t seem to want to answer
- The New We the People Write API, and What It Means for You