It’s almost certainly apocryphal but still an endlessly satisfying revenge fantasy that comes out of the annals of life at Dartmouth College. According to legend, at one time many decades ago, the town council of Hanover, N.H., where the university is located, passed into law a poll tax that would apply not only to the townspeople but to Dartmouth students.
A group in the engineering department retaliated by designing a new city hall that had a base five feet square and a height of 100 feet. The plans were mathematically flawless. Because there were more students at Dartmouth than there were “civilians,” the proposition to build a new structure passed with flying colors. A day later, the town council rescinded the poll tax.
This story came to mind when I learned that a petition (more on which presently) had appeared on the We the People website, the silly populist contrivance cooked up Barack Obama nearly eight years ago to provide other community organizers and C.O. wannabes swith a direct pipeline to the White House.
That purpose was never fully realized. Yes, the announcement of the web page’s existence was followed a storm of petitions, but many of them called for Obama’s impeachment or demanded that states be permitted to secede from the union. Over the years, the aritifice, created by a man who promised falsely to oversee the most transparent administration ever, has become a monument to his naïveté and shortsightedenss.
So what was the new petition? It was a two-fer. It is a demand that the next major U.S. Navy Ship be named “USS The Deplorables.” It is meant to be in-your-face both to the outgoing president and to the Democratic candidate who coined the phrase “basket of deplorables” — a move that may have contributed to her loss in November.
The petition needs 99,447 more signatures by January 3, 2017 to get a response from the White House. It’s doubtful that it will gain the needed signatures, but its purpose is clear all the same. Obama created the web page so that he would be able to hear the voice of the people. He just did, and they have spoken loud and clear.
(h/t Thomas Madison)