The White House’s "We the People" petition site is a very cool way to get the president and his staff to weigh in on issues that matter to the general public. But it’s also a great source for comedy, as a quick perusal of the various petitions floating around on the site are clearly designed to be jokes (at least we hope all those secession petitions are jokes…)
One of the best gags on the site lately involved a call for the U.S. government to begin immediate construction on its very own Death Star. The Star Wars fanbase is convinced that the key to a safer tomorrow is building a gigantic planet capable of destroying other planets – and they might be on to something. Just ask Alderaan how it feels about a Death Star… oh, wait, you can’t because Grand Moff Tarkin blew that planet up.
Naturally, the petition drew more than the 25,000 signatures required for an official response – and the White House finally weighed in on the whole “build us a Death Star” movement over the weekend. The answer was even better than the request that inspired it.
Paul Shawcross, chief of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, got the gig of writing the administration’s official response – entitled “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” (we love Shawcross already…), but the rest of his response is even better.
“The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
-- 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.
-- The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
-- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?"
You have to hand it to him – that last point pretty much nails it when it comes to why building a Death Star is a bad idea.
Shawcross did take the opportunity to also plug the administration’s science goals and suggest that anyone really interested in building Death Stars consider a career in science and math. Thankfully, there’s nary a mention of Midichlorians in the entire response.
Check out Shawcross’ full response at the We the People petition site.
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