The White House plans to release a new online petition initiative called “We the People,” a new way for citizens to make their voices heard. According to the White House press release, any petition receiving more than 5,000 signatures within the 30-day allotted time period will be officially reviewed; the Obama Administration will then issue a formal response to the proposal.
Although there is no guarantee that any given politically charged movement will elicit an actual policy change from our nation’s lawmakers, this initiative is a simple and inexpensive way to show the citizens of America that we can participate.
“We the People” has the potential to fuel popular grassroots movements that would have otherwise had to resort to putting up flyers at the local mall. With this new system, any movement that can secure a meager 5,000 signatures in a month will be granted immediate national recognition.
Even if the Obama Administration does not even entertain the notion of starting a formal policy change in support of the petition, at least the petitioners will receive a full response from the White House as to why their petition can’t be turned into law. This assurance, coupled with the newly earned attention of the nation, might be enough to give the movement future success.
According to the rules of “We the People,” anyone over the age of 13 is eligible to register their petition to the White House. Rather than restrict the process to adults, this low age limitation will give interested youth an easy avenue toward political action. This might serve to reduce the political apathy we see plaguing much of the late teenage demographic.
The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees our right to petition the government at our discretion; this new White House initiative opens up a new avenue for grassroots movements to reach fruition.