There was some bad news on the national defense front last weekend as White House chiefs confirmed that the government has no immediate plans to build a Star Wars style ‘Death Star’, citing ethical concerns and the exorbitant costs that the project would entail.
You might think I am joking, but this was actually the official government response to an online petition signed by more than 25,000 members of the public demanding that the US bolster its national security with such a lethal weapon.
As absurd as it all sounds, the administration was bound by law to come up with its admittedly quite impressive and witty response to the demand, due to rule that anyone who can get a minimum of 25,000 signatures onto an online petition deserves an answer. Obviously, authorities thought that by stipulating what seems like a pretty hefty minimum number of signatures, they would be able to ignore much of the nonsense touted by some of our more tongue-in-cheek voters – however it would seem that they miscalculated just how popular some of the crazier ideas thrown at them might be.
Such is the internet’s ability to unite people from all walks of life behind a cause that this isn’t the first time the White House has had to come up with a carefully constructed response to nonsensical demands. Previous petitions that successfully drew a response include one that demanded Louisiana could succeed from the United States, while another called for the White House to ‘de-classify’ its beer recipe.
These earlier responses were humorous enough, but they pale into insignificance compared to the White House’s take on the Death Star issue. The official response begins with the disclaimer “This Isn’t The Petition Response You’re Looking For,” then proceeds to carefully pick apart the petitioner’s demand with surprisingly logical arguments and numerous witty Star Wars references.
And who could really argue with the White House’s view point, when it estimates the cost of building a Death Star to be more than $850,000,000,000,000,000 (whatever the hell number that is)? Moreover, the White House spokesperson quite reasonably points out that the Obama administration doesn’t support blowing up planets at this time, nor does it see the logic in spending that kind of money on a Death Star given its inherent weakness that allows just one small starship to blow it to smithereens with a single shot.
All fair points indeed, and the full response goes on to remind petitioners of the numerous achievements in space and technology that the Obama government has already made, such as getting Curiosity onto Mars, and Obama’s proven skills when it comes to light saber-ship.