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New White House initiative “petitions” the public to let Washington know when they’re unhappy

LatinaLista — There’s no doubt the Internet has changed how people act on their frustrations with government. Whether it’s heeding protest calls posted on Facebook and Twitter or creating special pages for causes or blogging, the Internet is the key to 21st Century organizing and protesting.

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One of the most effective forms of Internet protesting is online petitions. Whether it’s print or virtual, get enough names on a petition and it will attract attention — or at least that’s the message from the White House.

Today, the White House launched a new website to help people make their voices heard in Washington. Called We the People, the site lets people create online petitions around any issue making them unhappy. If they get enough signatures — 5,000 in 30 days — the White House will review it, send it to the designated policy experts and issue an official response.

“When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens. That’s what the new We the People feature on is all about – giving Americans a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most to them,” said President Obama.

The site won’t start accepting petitions until later in the month. And before anyone gets too excited, no one is saying that a White House official response will commit reform or action on any issue, but the petition will be in the public record.

The biggest hope is that not only will the White House take notice of the petitions but members of Congress — since any meaningful action from Washington these days, we are told, must be bipartisan.

I wonder how long it will take for the first Reform Immigration Now! petition is launched.

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