I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get to this realization. Perhaps I’ve been more aware of my surroundings as I’ve gotten older. I’ve always heard “write your congressman” with regard to political issues and people opposing them.
Turns out, writing them is not worth it. Why? Because the offices of our elected officials (in Arizona at least) are lame. Allow me to provide an example.
In my latest post I ranted about how Arizona elected officials voted on the ‘bailout’ plan (that just happened to include new and extensions for bizarre tax credits that have nothing to do with the current economic crisis). I wanted to contact all the elected officials who represent my state. Turns out, none of them really know anything about technology. Every “contact me” form was a web form from 1995. Enter few bits of information and a plain text area to put in about a few sentences of text. I sent them links to my letter just to see what happens…after all I took time to write it in a document :-).
I couldn’t contact any representative outside my district and I’m assuming that is some incredibly lame policy identified somewhere. Needless to say, they don’t want to hear from a taxpayer/voter because I don’t currently reside in an area they represent. I was able to fill out the 1995 form for my senators and expect nothing to come of it. I also filled out the form for my district representative, Jeff Flake, who voted against the bailout plan with these ‘sweeteners’ added into the amendment. His form was from 1995 as well…actually he didn’t even have one but punted me to the US House of Representative contact form, where, by the way you must know your ZIP+4 information. Who the heck has their +4 memorized? Sigh.
Anyhow, here was the reply I just received:
Thank you for contacting me. All legislative inquiries to my office are responded to via the United States Postal Service. (Nevertheless, please feel free to continue to use e-mail to send me your thoughts and ideas.) You will receive a response to your question or concern as soon as possible.
WTF? Seriously dude, I just sent you an email and you are going to respond in old school format? And waste postage? Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong. Wake up Flake! Challenge the status quo!
Maybe I’m naive here, but I thought they worked for us. Their contact information for their email should be as readily available as my local mayor and town council. What’s with the obfuscation? I’m your constituent!
Man this is horrible and embarrassing. I would say “write your congressman” to complain about such a practice but somehow I feel we’d be in some weird Bermuda communication triangle.