Is there a point?


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Moparmike
June 10, 2004, 06:10 AM
Is there a point to writing carefully crafted letters to Congresscritters? I mean, do they actually read them for content and how you worded it, taking in every bit of it and absorbing the logic in it, or do they just have staffers read it and say "oh, he is a gun nut." The staffer then gets the name and address and sends out the usual form letter blowing you off or supporting your cause.


Which is it? I am afraid I already know, so I will ask: *** is the point of sending out carefully crafted letters full of enough logic to convice a stump to vote against the AWB when they ignore it? Would a better approach be to simply send a postcard with the words "DO NOT PASS THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN."?

I just get so tired of coming up with carefully worded letters to convince the moron my fellow citizens elected that the AWB is useless, and only infringes upon what he swore to protect (as long as it follows his party line and keeps him in his job :fire: ).

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Herself
June 10, 2004, 07:25 AM
The guideline once was this:

1. Do not send form letters. After the tenth identically-worded letter in opposition or support of the Swamp-Draining Ban shows up, the office-holder and/or staff figure they're being snowed, and ignore them.

2. Do not go on at great length. State your position and recommendation ("We must save the delicious Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus" or whatever), offer brief supporting info if you like, and be done. A page or a half-page at most. The staffer who reads your letter has a huge stack of them and not much time for each one.

3. This is basic but -- do not make threats. Do not even say things that a paranoid nitwit might take as threats. Yes, yes, all gun-grabbers ought to have to face malefactors willing to do them harm, it does tend to bring one's philosophical convictions about the bearing of arms under reappraisal, but letters to Congressbeings and Councilcritters are not the place to express this sentiment.


Generally, the more local an elected office is, the more likely your letter is to be read. And it may have some effect. If not, find somebody else to vote for. The "battered elector" syndrome, in which really miserable elected officials stay in power because voters think he or she is their only choice despite poor performance on key issues like RKBA and the Fourth Amendment, is silly: if they're not responsive to your concerns, dump 'em! That's why we bother to hold elections.

--Herself

client32
June 10, 2004, 09:44 AM
Just to be clear.

When you say do not threaten them, do you mean physical harm? Or are you counting the threat of not voting for them as well?

hillbilly
June 10, 2004, 09:50 AM
Don't craft, just crank them out.

Here's a template:


Dear Congresscritter So and So:

I strongly urge you to vote for/against or support/don't support Bill XXXX. My future votes and support for your hinge on your voting for/voting against, supporting/not supporting Bill XXXX.





Get a bunch of postcards and hand write that on them and mail those suckers off.

hillbilly

Jim March
June 10, 2004, 10:54 AM
Yes, there IS a point. Staffers tally the incoming. The legicritter in question won't be reading it, which is why a long dissertation is usually pointless unless VERY well written. So a two-liner is fine.

Postcards are good, esp. when DC-bound as they're not Anthrax-bait :rolleyes:.

Waitone
June 10, 2004, 08:15 PM
Be polite and respectful and professional.

Send it to them via the means they request. My congress person prefers emails. Senator A prefers fax since she has no website. I don't correspond with Senator B since he already has an expense account for toilet paper.

One topic per letter.

One letter per page.

Use a RE: at the top of the letter.

Pre-printed post cards are not dismissed as they are weighed as an indicator of a group's effectiveness (NRA for example).

Make sure your complete mailing address and contact numbers are on the heading. They do check to make sure you are in their state or district.

Don't give up. The right of redress to members of congress is a constitutionally guaranteed right only recently infringed upon by congressional action via the Campaign Finance Control Act.

sendec
June 10, 2004, 08:26 PM
I am guessing, but I'd bet calling them "CongressCritters" will not help the cause. As we respect, so are we respected. We dont have to like'm, but then we should'nt be offended by what They might call Us.

Standing Wolf
June 10, 2004, 11:39 PM
...a long dissertation is usually pointless unless VERY well written.

I'd be surprised if one letter in 1,000 is actually read by our elected misrepresentatives, and then only because the sender enclosed a check.

AZLibertarian
June 11, 2004, 12:02 AM
Is there a point to writing carefully crafted letters to Congresscritters?,,, To answer your question with another question: Is there a point to crafting a well thought-out position here on the internet?

Of course you ought to take the time to write carefully. As others have pointed out, it is pretty unlikely that your representative will actually see your letter. But the staffers do take a measure of how their district is responding to all sorts of issues. It is the job of the representative to represent the views of his district, and by extension, the staff ought to be willing to hear everyone's thoughts.

I regularly write my guys. I've got a whole file of their return letters. Most of the replies I get are form letters in return (Heck, McCain recently sent a form reply to an issue I hadn't even addressed). Recently, I even got a call at home from my Congressman (although I wasn't home--bummer). IMO, for the most part, they do care what their constituencies are thinking.

As far as the method, I've always avoided the form letters. Sure, I use some of the points, but I re-write them myself. Our current world makes them favor email, but these are also easiest to dismiss. Phone calls are good too. No anthrax in either of these. But I cannot help but imagine that the tangible heft of a full bag of mail or a full ream of paper through a fax machine will get the attention of a representative.

Regarding S2498, I sent my letter via fax and snail mail this morning. I let my senators know that I am paying complete attention to this issue, and that I expect them to oppose this and any other effort to extend the ban.

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