What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day17... Dear Mr. President... Are you really listening?

Day 17
Dear Mr. President,

I’ve watched the video about what happens to all the mail that you receive, on the White House website. It shows the huge truck backing up to unload all the letters, huge stacks of letters separated by categories, and a table full of people reading the letters and deciding which ten they feel are worthy of your attention.

All of this is well and good, but the video does not address the letters that are sent via email. According to the video you receive over 100,000 emails, 65,000 paper letters, 25,000 faxes, and who knows how many phone calls. So what happens to the emails? The website has the “Contact Us” button to click which takes you to a page that has you fill out a form with required fields asking for first name, last name, email, zip code, subject and message. Then there is the field that tests whether you are a human, with two encrypted words to type exactly as shown. Once this is complete you may then send your message.

On the same site there is a link for people to share their “feedback” about the video, and this link takes you to the same exact form you use for “Contact Us” with exactly the same requirements. Why would you ask for feedback on this specific video and then lump those replies in with the 100,000 other emails you receive in a day? Are you really interested in our feedback regarding this video, or is this a placebo to make us think you actually care?

Then there are the category choices, of which you must choose one. Issue on ‘Policy’ the choices are: Afghanistan & Iraq, Civil Rights, Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Home Land Security, Housing, Immigration, Job Creation, Technology, Seniors, Taxes, Transportation and Veterans. Non-Policy issues are: Help with a Federal Agency, The Administration, First Family, and Other. This is my 17th letter and once again I will need to choose ‘Other’ because most of my letters don’t fit the categories I have to choose from.

I’d like to suggest some additional categories, for instance; Hunger in America, Child Abuse, Teachers, Homelessness, The Mortgage Fiasco, Fraud on Wall Street, Schools in America, and so many other areas that are affecting ordinary citizens in this country. The “Other” button just isn’t cutting it. Maybe you don’t want to hear about these issues because you consider them “State” or “Local” issues, but I want you to know that everything that happens in Washington, every vote that protects the wealthy, every vote to send our tax dollars overseas, and every vote that slashes benefits for the most vulnerable, affect all of us!

Please consider revamping the ‘site that gives us access’ and really make it something that we can relate to, and those of us who email you need to know that those letters are given equal weight to the ones that are mailed.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
The Gadfly Granny

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