“We the People” is a government website where any American citizen can create and sign petitions pertaining to issues that they feel strongly about. “We the People” was created by the Obama administration in an effort to make the federal government more “open and participatory.”
The White House’s petition site is a grab bag of ideas of every kind — from the best to the worst, from intelligent to ludicrous. But it is still a mechanism for communicating with the federal government that many citizens have embraced.
It is unclear why, given its popularity and its symbolism for government responsiveness, it was pulled from the web earlier this week, ostensibly in reaction to the government shutdown.
Here is what currently shows up at the “We the People” page:
While it’s possible to make sense of why “non-essential” employees are sent home and other services are closed during the government shutdown, it continues to boggle the mind why websites, the operations cost of which are negligible, have been shut down.
The petition website is just one example of the recent pattern.
The federal government has shut down, or otherwise put up, frightening messages on dozens of federal agency websites.
It is hard to escape the suggestion that there is no real need for government agencies to shut down their sites. It is easy to imagine that what is happening is that the White House is taking advantage of its control over these sites to scare American people and to gain leverage in its one-sided bid to pin the blame for the current crisis on Congress.
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