March 31, 2009
(Sent to Rep. Mike Doogan email@example.com 31 Mar 09)
Dear Mr. Doogan,
In reading your formal emailed response to all those AK citizens who wrote you prior to December with concerns about their local government, a few thoughts come to light which I feel need (in my humble opinion) to be addressed.
The first is your comment – oh how did you put it to Phillip Munger – about how some of the emails you’d received were just too similar – the subtle implication being that one person had feigned different identities to give the appearance of being more than one person – the subtle accusation being that only a handful of your constituents were concerned about the behaviour of their governor, not the hundreds represented by the received emails.
Obviously you’ve not had a lot of interaction with the general public so I thought a small chat on human behaviour would be handy. I mean, just in case you were sick the day they taught this in Sociology 101.
Not everyone feels comfortable writing a letter.
Some people are embarrassed to jot down their thoughts because of poor spelling or grammar skills. Even in a country as rich as America, there are thousands of folks who lack an academic education for one reason or another. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s safe to assume not everyone who has a thought is comfortable transferring that thought to paper.
People with common ideals tend to form congregations.
So on a typical Thursday afternoon at the local Garden Club, Margaret happens to mention to Maude that she’s read something about her governor she’s not at all happy about but doesn’t quite know who to approach. Maude tells her she shares the same concerns and has found a website which may guide Margaret . One link leads to another and soon both Margaret and Maude are sharing links and concerns between themselves.
At the following club meeting, Maude mentions to Mary that she and Margaret have been trying to figure out who to contact about their concerns and Mary says she knows just the person. Their State Representative Mike Doogan! After all, that’s what he’s there for isn’t he? To listen to their concerns?
But Margaret is hesitant about sending him an email because she’s not very good at writing letters. Mary offers to draft a letter when she gets home and posts it online for the other women to copy. Soon all three woman have emailed it along to their State Representative.
At Church on Sunday, Maude relates this chain of events to her Bible Group. Several show interest, and Maude promises to email each of them copies. Some of them alter the wording, some change it altogether and others use it as only as an impetus to draft their own letters, but all email their views on to their State Representative.
One young man decides to post his version of the letter in a comment box on a favourite blogspot. Not long after, dozens of people have read the post and have not only written to their State Representatives, they’ve sent copies to Rep. Mike Doogan to show support of their friends in his district. In no time at all hundreds if not thousands of people across the globe are sharing their concerns about Sarah Palin’s impact on the world stage, and discussing what can be done to see her past discretions brought to justice.
* * * * *
And that, Mr, Doogan, is how one State Representative can end up with similar/like/identical emails from hundreds of concerned citizens – some of whom do not even live on your continent, much less inside your constituency.
But regardless of our physical addresses we share ideals Mr. Doogan. We share fears and joys and proffer support to each other in too many ways to mention. And there just are not a lot of ways to reword the phrase Sarah Palin is a terrible politician before it sounds repetitious to the reader. But do not for one second think that because the letters you received were similar, the concerns behind them are less credible.
There are thousands of voices out here trying to convey to someone with the power to act that
Sarah Palin and her staff need to be held accountable for their actions.
And every single voice should count, Mr. Doogan, whether that person sent you an email or a crayon drawing. If someone, anyone took the time to communicate their concern about something political happening on your watch, then you are responsible for addressing that concern, not editting the message or dismissing the person sharing it with you.
Perhaps in the future, Mr. Doogan, you’ll listen more to the people’s voices and less to the voices inside your head.
March 30, 2009
(Sent to Rep. Mike doogan firstname.lastname@example.org 30 Mar 09)
Dear Mr. Doogan,
Did you know that when a single woman travels alone the airlines and travel agencies will list her on all manifests as ‘Mrs.’? Would you happen to know why? Let me enlighten you. It’s because the world is a dangerous place Mr. Doogan and certain people are more likely than others to become targets of harm. So to protect the single woman travelling alone, the airlines and travel agencies who book her passage, disguise her image to make her less of a target to the unsavory eye.
It’s called ‘Duty of Care’.
The internet is a dangerous place Mr. Doogan. It’s unpredictable, unprotected and swarming with shadey people who look for vulnerable people to attack. It’s why we instruct new internet users to never open emails when they don’t recognize the sender. It’s why we tell our children to never give out their real names, addresses or telephone numbers in internet chatrooms. It’s the same reason park rangers tell visitors not to feed the bears.
It’s why there are dozens of governmental agencies in every developed country always watching for perverse people looking to prey on the kindnesses of others and why international laws are being discussed and drafted to protect the users of the internet across the globe.
Duty of Care.
Bloggers are just as entitled to be the recipients of Duty of Care as the next citizen. Perhaps even more so because we don’t have a legislature, magazine or newspaper to shield us from those who would cause anyone with an opposing opinion, harm. There is no entity shielding us from hackers, psychotics, thieves and perverts. We have only ourselves and our ability to conceal our real life information from people who don’t have one, single, solitairy reason or right to know who we are or where we live.
Do the names George Orwell, Mary Westmacott, Nicholas Blake or John le Carre ring any bells with you Mr. Doogan? They should. Each is the pen name of a rather famous author of the 1900’s.
Pen names weren’t just fashionable creations – they were intended to protect authors and their relatives from political or financial retribution. Pen names allow a writer made famous for his poetry to expand his talents and explore writing fiction without harming his career as a poet. It kept him from being fired by an employer who didn’t agree with what he wrote. It kept his son from being pelted with a tomato in the schoolyard.
Imagine where we would be today had Charles Dickens or Samuel Clemens been held to your ‘put your name to your writing or don’t write anything at all’ style of scrutiny.
Duty of Care.
Pen names are almost more important in today’s venue because today, the Internet is making the world smaller. We reach across oceans with search engines and satellite images. International travel is affordable to everyone. Internet access is attainable just by going to a public library where most of our personal information is stored, there to be gleaned far more often were it not for the Duty of Care felt by internet providers who at least attempt to safeguard our identities.
Those of us who choose to use the Internet as a vehicle for exchanging ideas, interpreting events of the day and proffering our own opinions and suggestions, realistically have only each other to rely on for protection no matter where we live. That’s why personal blogs with common goals have evolved into entire communities in and of themselves. We all watch out for each other – and contrary to your comments to Shannyn Moore, we protect each other regardless of whether or not we agree with the other guy’s stance. In a world where radio, television and newspapers are held to ridiculous political correctness, we are perhaps the last bastion for freedom of speech.
But it shouldn’t be that way. We should all, at the very least, be able to rely on the sagaciousness of our elected officials.
You, sir, have a ‘Duty of Care’ to every person with the ability to google your name, not just the citizens in your constituency of Alaska because the internet has made your role in Alaska visible to the entire world. Millions of people with millions of opinions have access to your opinions and political record via youtube, your website and public government documents.
Mr. Doogan, due respect but not only have you ignored your Duty of Care on an international level, you broke it fullstop with one of your own – and for no reason other than her opinion did not measure up to yours.
This is not a court of law Mr. Doogan. You are not on trial. You are not entitled to see the face of everyone who disagrees with the way you perform your public duties.
But you are the one who tossed fresh meat on an unsuspecting families’ doorstep in your own state of Alaska, and you should know a fair portion of the world is watching to see if and how you clean up your mess.
(aka Lynn in Australia)
March 29, 2009
(Sent to Rep. Mike Doogan email@example.com 29 Mar 09)
Dear Mr. Doogan,
Some of us were peacefully riding around Azeroth on our Wintersaber tigers, blissfully fending off giant fel-demons with enchanted daggers… just happy to know Barack Obama was where he belonged and that fellow bloggers were keeping watch over the rest.
And then, Mr. Doogan, you had to spoil everything. You had to go and turn into a dickhead, pulling me away from the first vacation I’ve enjoyed in a long time. Shame on you.
Shame on you for the childish email which began this entire kerfuffle. What stuff and nonsense. Was your goal to be a responsible politician putting difficult matters into perspective for the general public or were you too focused on nailing a comedic punchline at the end of each paragraph? Shame on you. You are an elected representative of the people, not a contestant on the Last Comic Standing.
Do you not comprehend the letters preceding your name? Rep. Mike Doogan. A title given to you by those people who believed in you when you told them you had their best interests at heart and asked for their votes. Holding the title ‘Representative’ is a public acknowledgement of the people’s trust. It says you will represent your constituents in governmental meetings to which they are not invited. But that it’s okay because you will be their voice. Their voice. Their opinion.
The Rep in your name is a promise to honour the ideals and mores of those who elected you and to convey their wishes about what they think is best for them to other governmental agencies whenever it’s necessary for your corner of Alaska to be included in the bigger political arena.
It is not a joke Mr. Doogan. None of the matters in any of the hundreds of emails you brushed aside with casual aplumb regarding concerns about Sarah Palin’s ability to represent the state of Alaska were meant to be funny. No one found the comfort of humour in any of Sarah Palin’s behaviour during her VP campaign. No one found humour in how Troopergate and the ensuing subpeona refusals were handled. No one. And certainly no one found humour or comfort in the legislature’s decision to just ‘let bygones be bygones’, reinforcing the old cliche` that politicians are not accountable for their actions.
So please believe me, Rep. Mike Doogan, when I say to you that no one has found the humourous side of your betrayal to one of your own citizens in an obvious ploy to divert attention from your own public display of monumental stupidity. And more, that you’ve not the backbone to stand up publicly and admit you screwed up.
You qualify your website comments as being different from other internet users and mince no words about holding a (rather snobbish) repulsion for all ‘bloggers’. And yet – did you stop and do your homework Mr.Doogan? I mean before making an anonymous writer’s identity public, did you properly interview AKM and AKM’s family? Did you interview local police? Did you bother to find out if AKM was protecting children from some unknown crim or ex who might do them harm if real names and addresses were to be publicized? Did you? Did you do one thing a professional reporter does before disrobing a private citizen in public?
Oh yes. You sent AKM an email. Well there you go. Your conscience is clear.
Be glad you are in Alaska Mr. Doogan. Here in Oz, every TV Journalist who uttered your name, every person you passed on the street would just shake his or her head and mutter “dickhead”. And you’d deserve it.
(aka Lynn in Australia)
PS It’s occurred to me, as I write this, that as a pollie you actually aren’t entitled to a personal opinion. Your opinion is supposed to reflect that of the people whom you represent. Perhaps next time you might actually ask those people what they think before trying to pawn off one of your own opinions as that of the general public.
Oh wait. Isn’t that what all those emails were about in the first place? Your constituents telling you what their thoughts and fears were regarding their governor? Right. And you dismissed those people and their concerns as frivilous in a fanfare of inappropriate sarcasm, didn’t you. Too bad. All those votes now going to someone else…
** Editted 31 Mar 09 to remove AKM name (and gender where possible) per comment requests ***