OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - Dear Senator X

(08/04/2007)

By Tony Russell
... Read more at tonyrussell.blogspot.com

Dear Senator X:

I recently sent you an e-mail via your congressional website about U.S. involvement in Iraq. I asked whether you supported a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, or whether you supported a partial withdrawal with substantial forces left behind through the foreseeable future.

The directions on your website told me to select the topic of my e-mail from a drop-down menu, and I clicked “Iraq.” The letter I got from you did not give an answer to my question. It simply thanked me for sharing my thoughts on this topic and then went into talking points on Iraq that contained noble sentiments but remarkably few specifics.

I mention this because my neighbor also e-mailed you about Iraq. He wanted to know if multiple tours of duty were stretching our troops too thin. When he showed me the letter he received from you, we noticed that it didn’t address his question either. He compared his letter with mine, and they turned out to be identical, except for the name, address, and date.

My question is this: Does somebody actually read these e-mails, or is your website set up so that different form letters go out, depending on which topic the citizen clicks?

Sincerely,
Raymond Snodgrass

* * * * * *

Dear Senator X:

After my earlier experience with my e-mail on Iraq, I e-mailed you at your official website with my thoughts on immigration policy. Instead of clicking the “Immigration” tab on the drop-down menu, however, I clicked “Impeachment,” just to see what would happen.

Yesterday I received your letter thanking me for sharing my thoughts on impeachment, and assuring me that this was a subject of the gravest importance to you.

Actually, I do care about impeachment, but immigration policy was the real subject of my last e-mail. Did an actual human being ever look at it? I am clicking the “Global Warming” tab with this message as an experiment. I am curious to see what will result.

Sincerely,
Raymond Snodgrass

* * * * * *

Dear Senator X:

I believe your computerized answering system has a glitch in it, as my last e-mail to you dealt with your response to my ideas on immigration. However, I clicked the “Global Warming” tab at your website out of scientific curiosity. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to find your letter in my mailbox today thanking me for sharing my thoughts on “Genetic Research and Stem Cells.” With this response, I am clicking the tab on “Gay Marriage,” and can hardly wait to see what comes back. Your letters have become one of the highlights of my day.

I must say that I admire the warm, personal touch at the end of each of your letters, where you thank me once again for taking the time to write, express the hope that I will continue to be an involved citizen, and assure me that you rely heavily on input from people like myself.

Sincerely,
Raymond Snodgrass

* * * * * *

Dear Senator X:

My neighbor suggested that the best way to get an actual person to read an e-mail sent to Washington would be to include words and phrases that would kick the message out of the system and trigger human involvement. He thought that putting words like assassinate and president close together would probably do the trick. As you can see, I have just done that. My question about your position on the continued deployment of troops in Iraq—which is where this all began—is attached.

Sincerely,
Raymond Snodgrass

* * * * * *

Dear Senator X:

Imagine my surprise when Secret Service agents showed up at my home only two hours after I sent my last e-mail to your website. I am presently being held in a federal detention facility, and desperately need your intervention here. I am clicking the “Request for Assistance” tab and hoping for your immediate attention.

Sincerely,
Raymond Snodgrass

© Tony Russell, 2007


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