(Sent to Rep. Mike Doogan firstname.lastname@example.org 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.