White House Death Star petition response: Not 'on horizon'
When the Obama Administration first created its “We the People” petition system — where a petition by an ordinary citizen requires a White House response if it gets 25,000 signatures within 30 days — they had to know they were inviting all manner of Internet shenanigans. Already, the president’s staff has had to contend with a petition to deport CNN’s Piers Morgan over his views on gun control, and MPAA chief Chris Dodd found himself the target of a White House petition after statements he made to Fox News seemed to imply that Obama’s re-election campaign had to play nice with the movie business if it wanted Hollywood’s financial support.
But those efforts pale in comparison to the petition, created on Nov. 14, 2012, demanding that the Obama Administration “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” It earned 34,435 signatures, more than enough to force a White House response, which was just posted to the White House Petitions website, penned by Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. As the response’s title — “This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For” — makes clear from the get go, it. Is. Awesome.
“The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense,” begins Shawcross, “but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon.” He cites a Lehigh University study that calculated that a Death Star would cost a deficit-exploding $852,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s $852 quadrillion), notes that “the Administration does not support blowing up planets,” and rightly points out that it would be foolhardy to build a space station “with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.”
Shawcross then goes on to tout the many space endeavors, both public and private, that are currently underway. (“Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun.”) He concludes by encouraging the diligent soul(s) who created the petition to pursue a career in a science, technology, or math-related field, declaring that anyone who does so embraces the power of the Force: “Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” Indeed!