While we are familiar with our constitutionally protected right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances,” we’re not as familiar with what happens to those petitions.
In other words, are they just ignored if the recipient doesn’t like the content of the petition?
Put another way, it is all just a big waste of time – to be brief, is this a right that doesn’t really amount to much?
Drawing such a conclusion would be an error.
Even if the petition went nowhere, the right to present it includes a more fundamental right, and that is our right to engage in free speech on matters political.
People cannot be hauled off to prison for making statements highly critical of the government and its leaders unless there is a threat of violence contained within such speech or petitions.
A petition drive is now in place to ask President Trump to officially recognize the left-wing and often violent group “Antifa” as a terrorist organization with all that implies.
Obviously, the reasonable intent is to prevent the White House from having to respond to every fringe petition it receives that can only get a few thousand supporters in a nation of 300 million.
“‘Antifa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,’ the petition reads.
“Antifa has been known to provoke right-wing activists, and has made appearances in Berkeley, California, in March and Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
“In the most recent incident in Charlottesville, the violent protesters clashed with right-wing activists protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee.”
Granting what is requested by this petition would create a political firestorm. Of course, one is already raging, so this would just amplify the rage we are seeing from the left.
“Although Trump has not called out ‘Antifa’ by name, he did condemn white supremacists and violent ‘alt-left’ protesters.”