Friday, November 8, 2013

Are Form Letters Really a Legit Response

Over the last nine months, I have chosen to contact my senators and congressman on a variety of topics. I have emailed, called, Tweeted, Facebooked, and used their online form. I can say that I did meet with each office in person and have spoken to a real person at all of them on several occations. 
 But what about the other times? I have received numerous email responses and form letters thanking me for expressing my concerns. I have received emails that state they have counted my contact and that they appreciate my contacting the office. But, only once did any of the three offices actually take interest in the concerns I expressed. ( Thank You Congressman Cramer!) 

So I ask, "Does a canned and/ or automated email really count as a response?" I ask after seeing a Facebook post and story about how one of my senators has responded to over 50,000 emails, calls etc. 

Yes, a tally of contact can help a representative note importance on a topic to his/ her constituents. Yes, sometimes that is all we want. And then I wonder what happened to their comments directly to me ( when I met with them in person) about wanting real stories from the state about how this or that is perceived, impacts, affects North Dakotans. They plea for us to share stories so they can share them on the house/ senate floor, with others when meeting, when looking for support for positions on bills, and to help explain their position. But, when stories are shared are they ever read, used etc. or are just the calls, emails, texts that fit their position cared about?

I guess what I am saying is that just because they ask doesn't mean they really want to know. They like to count contact and use it as publicity. Who wouldn't want to look good to those who aren't as active in the game. Headlines sell... Headlines are what most read. So, it is up to us to make our headline bolder and stronger, more eye catching in order for a staffer to want to hear, read, listen to what we have to say.
Don't settle for a form letter. Don't settle for a, " I will write it down". If you want to share more, be persistent, but be respectful. As much as we want to be the most important person trying to contact them, we aren't. We must be willing to invest time and energy. Persistence pays! 

P.S. Gotta love when the email responses ( below is a section from one ) come and direct you support the program you  directly opposed and doesn't acknowledge what was discussed in you message. Plus, it comes from a "DO NOT REPLY" email account! Love it!

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