Piers Morgan is taking a cue from Mitt Romney's pre-election immigration platform and threatening to deport himself if the U.S. fails to crack down on guns.
In a Sunday column for the Daily Mail, Morgan responded to some viewers unhappy with the British CNN anchor's vocal pro-gun control stance:
The concerted effort to get me thrown out of the country – which has so far gathered more than 90,000 signatures – struck me as rather ironic, given that by expressing my opinion I was merely exercising my rights, as a legal US resident, under the 1st Amendment, which protects free speech.
Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first – and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years’ time – seriously consider deporting myself.
ORIGINAL POST from December 27:
So far, more than 83,000 gun-rights advocates [UPDATE: Now, more than 90,000] have joined the White House petition -- "We the People's" third most popular -- to kick Piers Morgan out of the U.S., after the British-born CNN anchor became extremely vocal about his support for gun control in the wake of the Newtown massacre. (He even called one gun rights guest "an unbelievably stupid man" to his face.)
The petition, which has more than enough signatures to prompt an official response from the White House, reads:
British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.
But alas, some Brits don't want him back. A counter-petition popped up on Christmas Day, reminding people of Morgan's right to free speech, but also claiming that "no on in the U.K. wants him back." It argues:
We want to keep Piers Morgan in the USA.
There are two very good reasons for this. Firstly, the first amendment.
Second and the more important point. No one in the UK wants him back.
Actually there is a third. It will be hilarious to see how loads of angry Americans react.
The "Keep Piers Morgan in the USA" petition is more than 19,000 signatures short of an official response, but they have until January 24.
But for some observers, a program that started as a technologically innovative way for Americans to reach the administration en masse, has since devolved into a mouthpiece for a snarky few. Mediaite's Tommy Christopher called the anti-Piers Morgan sentiment on "We the People" a "national embarrassment."
There are a lot of stupid petitions on the White House website, and clearly, the wiseass factor is vastly outweighed by the good that the We the People program represents, but the Morgan petitions represent a unique combination of anti-Americanism in patriot’s clothing, and the appearance of grassroots support. If you don’t like Piers Morgan, change the channel, or get booked on his show and yell at him, but to actually petition the government to remove him for exercising our most cherished freedom is not just wrong, it’s embarrassing.
The Daily Beast's Megan McArdle called for an end to "We the People" petitions altogether:
They're far to [sic] vulnerable to just this form of idiocy, and the success and fame of this petition is only going to encourage more of it. Unless we want to pay some White House staffer to spend precious tax dollars, and precious minutes of their life, considering whether President Obama should go on Dancing with the Stars, or the Real Housewives of Orange County should be made illegal, it might be better to end this particular experiment with public democracy.
Morgan, however, an active Twitter user, is taking it all in stride -- fans from all over the world have been offering him the chance to move to more welcoming countries:
Merry Christmas! Even to those who want me deported.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 25, 2012