I was perusing the headlines (or was it an outpouring of head-lice; whatever), I noted this: “Email sends lawmakers letters they can’t manage”. It’s David Goldstein’s (of the McClatchy Newspapers) by-line and printed in The Advocate (10-16-2011). Another headline a couple of days ago stated there were over 100 thousand suggestions sent to the Super Committee charged with figuring out how to trim billions from Obama’s spending plan before November when some allegedly nasty cuts will affect the military and other critical governmental departments. There must have been some real doozies in that batch.
In my early days as an observer of the “world o’ politics” I suggested the human race (at least that segment living in America) was capable of lightning fast communication and instant referendum by computer communication. I still feel the same except for the fact several people have pointed out many people just don’t give a blip. They believe their representatives have their best interests at heart.
Did you notice that last sentence was confusing, as in whose interests were at heart, the people or the representatives’? It was meant to be confusing because you never know who is putting your interests before their own. Therefore the communication becomes even more important than before it was brought to the surface.
The world is no longer a collection of disparate, detached and distanced countries avoiding contact by using the excuses: “the phone lines are down”, “electrical activity is preventing the broadcast” or “radiation is garbling the signal”. Today it’s more likely you’ll be interrupted in any number of critical activities by an audible alert advising you somebody wants to speak, email or tweet some absolutely forgettable knowledge nugget like a puppy looking longingly into the camera lens or the same puppy crapping in somebody’s purse. In any case it can be unnerving.
Where it becomes a matter of concern is in the knowledge our elected representatives have the ability to cyber-strike us with emails, tweets and robo-calls at the drop of a hat and they’re constantly knocking the hat to the floor. These people have sufficient staff to send out these stealthy little cyber missiles but don’t have the staff capable of ANSWERING your queries. That works out well for them and not worth a blip for you. They get to claim ignorance (like we couldn’t tell already) of your query and under-staffing makes it impossible to acknowledge you exist, let alone might have a good idea of how to approach a problem affecting you.
Being the Luddite I am, I appreciate the fact there’s a keyboard similar to the IBM Selectric I used to start this operation and the Underwood Portable (manual) typewriter I used in high school. The QWERTY keyboard works, tweety; not so much. Maybe it’s because I can’t say squat in 140 characters or less unless it’s an expletive.
I’m not all that electronically or cyber-touchy-feely about all of this. I am not a Twitter or a Tweeter. I damned sure ain’t a Twit like some of the communicants I endure in the course of a day.
This is all coming together as a chance for those responsible to find newer and better excuses to avoid their responsibilities. Politicians claim they want citizen input. They say they want the electorate’s guidance in matters affecting the community. They claim there’s too much communication coming in over the wire to efficiently handle. “Everything is just so hard Mom and it piles up and I can’t cope and I just wanna eat ice cream all night until I pop and nobody will ever love me and these zits are ruining my day, plus I started my period and I’m a guy! Oh woe is me, whatever will I do? ”
I don’t know what to tell the good folks in Politico Land. Maybe you could try standardizing the responses so they can be categorized: 1 means “for”; 2 means “against”; 3 means something like some multiple-choice, pre-stated questions to be selected. It could work.
But when you get right down to it; do you believe a politician really wants your input? Remember what I said about being a Twit.
Thanks for listening.