Saturday, August 22, 2009

Form letters

I recently wrote an e-mail to one of my federal legislators. I won't say which one. Let's just call him Mark Schmudall. Now, having been on the receiving end of constituent letters for many years, I don't have particularly high expectations for responses. Still, the response I received was pretty disappointing:
Coloradans have contacted my office about the economic recovery bill, energy, the environment, small business, education, health care, and numerous other important topics. I appreciate hearing from each one of you because understanding your views is fundamental to my job.
Um, great. But I wrote about health care, not about those other issues. I even had to select a topic when I sent the e-mail, so this shouldn't have been too hard to figure out. It's not that hard to tailor these form letters by topic.
Please know that my staff reads each one of your letters and e-mails and keeps me consistently updated on Coloradans' concerns.
I actually appreciated this line. He's not pretending that he read it. Too many politicians try to maintain that silly fa├žade.
I am honored to serve as your U.S. Senator. My top priority in the Senate is to provide efficient and effective service to people across our state. Please know that my Colorado staff is available to handle specific services relating to the federal government (such as help with a passport, claim for veterans' benefits, or a citizenship matter).
Well, great, but again, not what I wrote in about.
My job is not about merely supporting or opposing legislation; it is also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics.
I must've missed that part of the Constitution, Article I.

Anyway, this just seemed like a form letter that tried to do far too much and ended up sounding, well, like no one cared about my original message. I think a simple "Thank you for letting me know your views. I'll keep them in mind" would have done more.

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