Dear Madame L,
Well, I wrote to my Member of Congress, and got a boilerplate reply that she obviously sent to everyone who has contacted her this year. She didn't address my issues directly and failed to admit that she has followed the Tea Party line all along, while pretending to care about taxes and jobs for the 99 percent. In fact, she outright lies in how she represents her position and voting record.
I think this whole exercise is a waste of time. She obviously doesn't even read the messages people send her, and some staffer is just making up these standard replies for everyone to justify what she's doing, without any hint that she will ever actually respond to the actual desires of the voters in her district.
Here's the letter:
December 23, 2011
Dear (My Name Here),
Thank you for writing to me about H.R. 3765, a measure to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, and the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline. It is an honor to represent the people of [Her District], and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Despite a frustrating process, I am glad that hundreds of thousands of [Her District] residents will not see their taxes go up on January 1. I have consistently supported continuing the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment insurance and making sure Medicare patients have access to the medical care they need.
While I'm glad that Congress and the Senate reached an agreement to extend these programs for two months, this is only is a short term fix. I know a longer term solution is needed. This is why I voted for H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act on December 13, 2011. This bipartisan bill that was passed by the U.S. House would have extended these priorities for at least a year. It would also ensure that the Social Security Trust Fund is fully funded by other budget savings. Overall, this extension would not add to our nation's debt.
I was disappointed that the U.S. Senate blocked H.R. 3630, instead favoring a two month extension. While I would have preferred to provide a year of tax certainty as soon as possible, I voted against a resolution to reject the Senate's two month version because I wanted to ensure that residents of [Her District] do not see their taxes go up on January 1. Fortunately, the House and Senate have agreed to quickly pursue a longer-term solution. The folks of [Her District] have asked for and deserve an agreement that gives them certainty beyond two months.
I know times are tough in [Her District]. Close family members of mine have been laid off and are looking for work. Many of my neighbors, friends and folks I meet while traveling the district are struggling to pay their mortgages and provide for their families. I will continue to work with Congressional leadership to secure a longer-term extension of these important priorities and give folks relief during these difficult times.
Since I took office, I have successfully fought every effort to raise taxes on families and small businesses. I have also been working on a long-term solution that will provide more stability on Medicare reimbursement issues that will affect care for our seniors. Most importantly, my top priority has been getting [Her District] back to work. I appreciate having the benefit of your input as I continue to work on these issues.
I invite you to visit my website at [her website here] for additional information or to sign up to be kept up to date on these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance.
(Her Name Here)
Member of Congress
Madame L, Please stop advising people to write to their elected officials because it won't do any good.
Angry and Frustrated (Still!)
Dear Still Angry and Frustrated,
Madame L is going to continue to advise you and all her Dear and Gentle Readers to write to their elected officials because Madame L knows they're paying attention. Even if they have staffers who write boilerplate responses to your letters and messages, they keep track of what people are saying to them.
Even that letter you received shows that your Member of Congress has realized the importance of at least responding to her constituents, at least pretending to understand and empathize with their troubles. And if you've been keeping track, you'll have noticed that her version of how she has voted has changed during her time in office to fit what she thinks her constituents want to hear --- which is progress,of a sort --- of the best sort you can hope for from a politician. And that's a big step in the right direction.
Please, keep writing! Keep letting these people know that YOU are holding THEM responsible for their work in Congress.
Again, here are the links to elected officials' contact information:
The White House (includes links to other offices in the executive branch)