This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
Part of the democratic process includes being able to have your voice heard. Whether that’s by joining a political cause or by simply casting your vote in an election. These are fundamental parts of a democratic system. You can also participate in friendly protests, or sign a petition. Back in 2011, a website known as “We the People” was launched as a way for everyday citizens to get a response from the Obama administration. The caveat was the petition had to have over 100,000 signatures on it. The Trump administration, however, has decided that the site will be unavailable until 2018, at which time the existing petitions will be restored. Is there a good reason for this?
The short answer to that is yes. Well, “good” in this case is debatable. It’s good for Trump to take it down. Why exactly? Well, one of the petitions on the site is calling on President Trump to release his tax returns. Not only is it one of the petitions, it’s one of the most popular, with more than a million signatures. So, of course, this is going to be good for Trump. Getting back to my original point, however, this is taking away something from the American people. I’m a strong proponent of democracy. Yes, I’ve made some underhanded comments about Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the system. In fact, if there was no doubt that he won on his own merits, I would write an article about that. But there’s some shady information out there about this not being the case, so I can’t.
Where am I going with this? Anyone can draft a petition – good or bad. Anyone can get 100,000 signatures. You don’t have have to agree with what the petition is asking, but the White House needs to take these seriously. Again – good or bad. Trump can’t pick and choose which ones he wants to respond to because he doesn’t like what is being said about him. Adulting 101 – sometimes we have to do things we don’t like or don’t want to do. And if you’re the president, that should go without saying.
The website says:
“All existing petitions and associated signatures have been preserved and will be available when the site is relaunched. Following the site’s relaunch, petitions that have reached the required number of signatures will begin receiving responses.”
What many may not understand about government is how things are actually done. Which is what was discovered during the Obama administration. There is a clear difference between a response and a reaction. For example, a study was conducted by the Pew Research Center last year of 4,800 petitions on the site. Many of the petitions that received the most attention were around pop culture – including a petition to deport Justin Bieber after a ton of bad behavior. There was also a petition for the Federal Government to build a “Death Star”, like the one in the Star Wars movies. Clearly, these aren’t going to get any kind of reaction. Perhaps a laugh and an interesting response. I’m not suggesting Trump needs to respond to these ones. But there are some serious petitions that require attention.
That being said, just because you submit a petition, doesn’t mean the government is going to do it. There are other factors in here. Like budgets, public safety, national security etc. I don’t think people always understand what can become a policy because there has to be some kind of enforcement mechanism. Or a way of making sure that the policy is working. For example, it would be difficult for the government to ban McDonald’s from having Shamrock Shakes. Just because you don’t like them, doesn’t mean that it’s a good policy move. I think people need to think about that as well when looking at these petitions. The billion-dollar question, however, is why the site has been taken down. If it’s not reinstated in January, I think it’s safe to assume that Trump doesn’t want to deal with these issues publicly.