We The People

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The right to petition the government to complain about something or to demand action on an issue is as old as our country itself–it’s enshrined in the First Amendment, along with rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, and freedom to assemble. It’s a fundamental part of our political system.

We’re all familiar with petitions: someone corners you at the mall, armed with a clipboard and a stack of papers, asking for a signature. You sign, or not, and usually never find out the final outcome of the petition campaign.

That was old school.

The new way to petition the federal government, like most everything else these days, is online. “We the People,” at www.WhiteHouse.gov, allows citizens (at least those citizens over the age of 12 years) to create petitions on any issue imaginable and then seek electronic signatures from everyone else. The web site provides a forum, but it’s up to the person who created the petition to publicize the effort

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