It's right there in the First Amendment to the Constitution: The government shall make no law prohibiting the people's right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Of course years ago, it was a lot more difficult to get those pesky grievances redressed. You had to shake off a bad case of cholera, hop on a horse, and bang on the door of your representative. Now you can just fire up a computer. But are we a better nation for it?
The White House maintains its own digital petitions page where anyone can drop in and log a public complaint. The rule used to be that the government would then address any petition that collected 25,000 signatures or more in a month. Now that threshold has been raised to 100,000 because, basically, a bunch of yahoos began filing stupid petitions trying to get President Obama to comment on urgent matters of national security like banning the Kardashians. U-S-A! U-S-A!
The content on the White House site changes all the time as new suggestions come in, but we think we've identified 10 of the dumbest citizen requests to make it online in recent weeks—petitions that probably didn't have much chance of being enshrined in the Bill of Rights anyway.
1. Give Nicolas Cage the Declaration of Independence
"Nicolas Cage deserves the Declaration of Independence," the petition copy reads. "He is a National Treasure. Having stolen the Declaration once, he is clearly capable of doing so again, but chooses not to out of the kindness of his heart. He should be rewarded for his work as an actor and a historian by being given the Declaration of Independence." Someone ought to reward him with a decent script first.
No. of signatures last time we checked: 1,220
2. Require Congressmen & Senators to wear logos of their financial backers on their clothing, much like NASCAR drivers do
You gotta admit, this is not the most terrible idea in the world. Imagine the halls of Congress filled with men and women wearing ads for McDonald's, Big Tobacco, and, in John Boehner's case, self-tanners. The petition even suggests how large a logo your largesse will buy you. "For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4" by 8" on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button." If the gun industry is a backer can we make them wear targets?
No. of signatures last time we checked: 28,759
3. Convert at Least One (1) National Park into a Dinosaur Clone Park
Okay, this sounds like a lot of fun. Unless you've seen Jurassic Park, that is. Despite the high probability of death-by-raptor for a large percentage of the visitors, this petition demands, "One national park, open year round, filled with dinosaurs and (optional) wooly mammoths," though it stipulates "no pterodactyls."
No. of signatures last time we checked: 1,857
4. Designate May 20th as Macho Man Randy Savage Day
Right, because if there's any American who desperately needs to be honored with a holiday it's the spokesperson for Slim Jim. The petition calls the late wrestler a "national treasure loved by everyone," and claims "you felt a deep connection with Savage."
No. of signatures last time we checked: 4,857
5. Begin Construction of a Death Star by 2016
Just in time for the new Star Wars movie, this warmongering petition gathered so many signatures that it earned a response from Paul Shawcross, chief of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. He said there were no plans for a Death Star, despite its job-creating potential, and that building a weaponized space station would be prohibitively expensive, costing around $850,000,000,000,000,000.
No. of signatures last time we checked: 34,000
6. [Get] President Obama [to] Disclose the truth about NASA Astronauts who landed on the Moon 1961
This cryptic petition, from a group called the Galactic Round Table, claims that humans were thrown off the moon by "negative" alien creatures and asked never to return. Now this group claims the government is training ETs inside a Colorado mountain and making weekly flights to the moon and Mars aboard "4th/5th generation anti-gravity/quantum effects crafts." Makes other conspiracy theories sound much more plausible by comparison.
No. of signatures last time we checked: 1,319
7. Prohibit Straight Men From Driving
The authors claim that men are easily distracted by "women's bodies," which raises a host of "safety concerns" on the road. Sexually suggestive billboards or ladies going "about their everyday lives near roadways wearing tank tops and short shorts," could easily lead to a crash. Because gay men couldn't possibly be distracted by anything, right?
No. of signatures last time we checked: 11,754
8. Join America and Australia to form Ameristralia
Isn't reversing continental drift a tall order for an American Congress and president that can't even pass gun control? Even assuming it were possible for the U.S. and Australia to be joined because they've "become best friends," would they even want to? Japan has way better food.
No. of signatures last time we checked: 3,687
9. Have Amy Bouzaglo Committed
Yes, there's actually an official petition to have that one wackadoo Arizona lady who appeared on Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" thrown in to the loony bin. "I think she should have a psychological evaluation and kept from interacting with the public," it reads. Here's an idea: Just don't eat at her restaurant.
No. of signatures last time we checked: 989
10. We Request the United States Government Will Tofu Curd Official Taste Is Sweet
No. of signatures last time we checked: 2,532