Monday, June 25, 2012

No, I don't send pre-written letters to "pols"


Sunday morning, at a local church, the pastor encouraged members and visitors to pick up a package for mailing letters to members of Congress urging (in anticipation of the upcoming debt ceiling debate, perhaps) not to balance the budget on the backs of the vulnerable.

A mash of principles come to mind.  One is that I don’t like to send letters to politicians (by email or by letter) written by others.  I really don’t think it’s effective.  I do sign online petitions (as on change.org) for some situations. And I do sign petitions at public malls and places held by real people, sometimes.
   
Both the left and right like to put words in the mouths of constituents.  Both sides are “guilty” of it.

And I probably sound uppity, but I don’t like to be recruited to other people’s specific causes.  I like to look at everything together, connect the dots, keep ‘em honest.

And I also realize that my “journalistic attitude” is symptomatic of something else, that we have become less sociable, more insistent in doing or having things our own ways, even if that means less contact with others (but maybe the contact that happens is of better quality).

As for “balancing the budget” on the backs of the poor, well, yes, the well-off should pay more taxes.  The problem is one of ideology.  The right wing can credibly argue that taking care of those people who are less “competitive” is a responsibility for extended families, not government.  But then that feeds the “family values” idea that everyone must have a generative stake in family life – and indeed now it looks like eldercare is falling on the shoulders of all, including the childless.  In the long run, this can have a profound impact on just what marriage is for.

One other brief note or reminder.  I appreciate (though I first monitor) comments that are at least remotely relevant to the posting. I don’t mind links to product or services if there’s a connection. I do reject comments that appear to be computer generated or spam (that is, have commercial links and don’t relate to the blog or the post).  Likewise, I ignore link exchange or posting requests that seem spammy (“10 reasons why….”).  It still sounds as there is a lot of financial incentive to generate links or page loads, even if the percentage of responses is very small.  I still think the idea of a penny charge per email isn’t such a bad idea. 

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