The White House continues to respond to some of the most outlandish petitions on its “We, The People” website. One of the two responses released last night addressed petitions from citizens of eight states hoping to secede from the United States, and a ninth petition requesting that the citizens who signed the other eight be deported. In an open letter, Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement, confirmed that the South would in fact, not rise again, reminding petitioners of the last time states seceded from the Union.

“Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted,” Carson wrote. “But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”

The other response struck down a much sillier petition, demanding that the government begin construction on a “Death Star,” a Star Wars space station capable of destroying moons and planets, by 2016. The original petition gained 34,435 signatures, prompting a response from White House Science and Space Branch Chief Paul Shawcross.

“The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it,” Shawcross wrote. “The administration does not support blowing up planets.”

The title of the response, “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re looking For,” is a play on a famous scene from the original Star Wars, reflecting Shawcross’ sense of humor in his answer.

“We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the space station, a president who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers,” he continued.

Though “We the People” has spawned more serious petitions and responses from the White House, most recently regarding gun control, it continues to provide an entertaining form of direct interaction between the Obama administration and the American people.


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