This morning a petition on the White House’s official petition portal, We the People, began circulating across the web that asked the government to consider assigning each state a Pokemon character to represent it. It received under 1,000 signatures, but delighted swaths of “’90s ubernerds” nostalgic for a time when trading Pokemon cards on the playground was the most emotionally-fraught adventure of the day.
But a few hours after news of the petition broke, the White House yanked it from We the People, claiming that it violated the site’s Terms of Participation. We have to assume recognizing a state Pokemon is not exactly high up on the administration’s lengthy list of priorities.
Though there are some worthwhile petitions on We the People, many Internet users have glommed on to the tool as an act of trolling. And who can blame them, really? Come up with some outrageous idea, spread it around via social networks, and bam–it can’t be that hard to get 25,000 signatures on a jokey petition. And who says millennials are politically disengaged?
“Are kids getting stoned and signing petitions now?” wondered one Betabeat writer. “Yay for engagement but go find a light show.”
To be fair, the White House hasn’t exactly discouraged this sort of behavior. Last week, the administration released a hilarious response to a petition to build a Death Star which, while absolutely delightful, was probably not the best use of government time?