The canned response

Just as I predicted, this was the silly, rather insulting response my husband, my friend, and I each received after doing the responsible thing and “writing our congressman” to express our views on the spendulous package. In this case, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter:

Dear Ms. xxxxxxx:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The concerns of my constituents are of great importance to me, and I rely on you and other Pennsylvanians to inform me of your views. I will keep your thoughts on this matter in mind.  Thank you again for writing.  Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or visit my website at

Arlen Specter  

Yes, I know, his office was no doubt flooded with mail. But do I have any hopes that my views will matter a whit when that bill comes up for a vote? Do you think your views matter either?

Plus, I contrast this response to a response I received several months ago when I e-mailed my U.S. Representative, Tim Murphy, when the last bailout vote came up last year. His response was just as timely, but actually said something, explaining his views on the issue and generally making me feel as if my voice was heard, whether or not he actually agreed with it. (I believe he did, but that is beside the point in this case.)  

Personally, I think elected officials should have to keep a log of constituent communications and vote accordingly when they get a large outcry to an issue. I bet that would encourage a lot more people to express their views when they feel strongly.

In the meantime, no lectures about “getting involved.” In the end, it’s 100 senators and 435 representatives casting whatever vote they feel like. The best we can do is watch how they voted and remember it come the next election. I will do just that.

When government accepts responsibility for people,
then people no longer take responsibility for themselves. 
                                                       ~ George Pataki


  1. Rege said,

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    If you really want to get angry, see if you can find his response about what was actually in the bill.

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I read his op-ed in the Washington Post. He basically says “It’s the best we can do.” Ya know what — lay the bill’s expenditures out line by line so they’re understandable and not buried, and I’m sure the people can tell Congress what merits being there and what doesn’t. (Considering it’s our money they’re spending and all…those of us who actually pay taxes, that is.)

  3. Lyndsay said,

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Hey just thought I’d let you know that even though I’m a citizen of South Dakota, I sent the following emails to Senators Specter, Snowe and Collins:
    Dear Sen. __________:

    I am a life long conservative. I vehemently disagree with your decision to pass along the stimulus “Generational Theft Act.” Your vote clearly illustrates your lack of conservative values. Even though I am not a citizen of your state, please be assured that I will offer what limited funds I can to support your ousting from the senate in the upcoming election. We are tired of RINOs such as yourself (Republicans in name only).

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks, Lyndsay. I can only hope that everywhere across the country people like us (and even some clear-headed liberals) are taking similar action.

  5. Facie said,

    Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    A few weeks ago, I emailed Sen. Casey questioning his saying in his newsletter that he rejoiced with all American as/when Obama was inuagurated. I told him that I AM an American, and I did NOT rejoice. I acknowledged that it was historic that a black man was elected president, but the use of rejoice was too strong of a word, I thought, especially for Casey who is pro-life. I got some seemingly canned response that said he was pro-life, was against the Freedom of Choice Act, etc. He missed my point, which was simply questioning his word choice and lumping everyone together.

    This is why I rarely write to our reps and senators.

  6. WritingbyEar said,

    Monday, February 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Rejoice? Give me a break. The only people rejoicing were those who voted for him (which as I recall was something like 52-48 or 53-47). I agree with you.

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