Re: Any d@mn thing that pops into my head about how this country should be run.
People in power always care about letters, good or bad. Today, if PetroLedger received fewer than a dozen letters complaining about my use of ‘colorful metaphors,’ I’d get the call, “Driskell, you gotta clean it up! Give me your badge and gun. You’re on the bench.”
Executives and politicians are always terrified that, if someone takes the time to write a letter, then there must be 100 people who feel the same way and didn’t take the time to write a letter. Politicians get jittery when someone like ACLU writes a letter that talks about possible boycotts. And let’s be clear: the honchos never see the actual letters. Some PR or marketing nerd says, “We’ve got a few more letters complaining about all the ScarJo references in Driskell’s blog,” and that’s all they hear.
And who writes letters, open or otherwise? Nuts, that’s who. If you own a smartphone, know how to use a TV remote, or have friends or a job— you don’t write letters. While you’re finding paper, digging out an envelope, and licking that stamp, entropy takes another chunk out of your precious life. You don’t have time for all that noise, so nuts fill the vacuum.
It used to be that a regular citizen could just stroll into the White House and yak at the President. Mary Todd Lincoln used to reprimand Abe for answering the White House door himself. Random people would drift in, sit-down, and babble at the President of the United States about whatever they wanted. But between mediocre theatre actors, Jody Foster fans, and characters in Ollie Stone movies pumping lead into them, presidents have become less and less accessible.
But, El Presidenté still pays attention to letters. The White House Office of Presidential Correspondence says they receive between 10 and 20 thousand letters and emails per day. 20,000? This isn’t that many, considering the US has a population of 330,000,000. Think about it: 160 million turned out to vote in the last election, yet the loudest voices in the room are the (comparative) handful that write the White House. Every president since Reagan has talked about what a strong influence letters are on presidential policy. Some sad little staffer somewhere in the bowels of the White House has to read each of those letters and tally them up. Clearly, the best way to vote isn’t going to the polling booth, but to write letters— and with modern technology, it’s even easier than ever.
With email and a correspondence webform on the White House page, it means no envelopes, no nothing. You just write a letter to the Commander in Chief as part of your daily morning ritual with some coffee. Don’t worry about quality. Don’t expect an answer. Some lackey will read it and make a check in the correct column. You’re just voting— but you’re voting in a sample of thousands, not tens of millions. Don’t worry about being funny or witty, and you don’t need to make a brilliant case. Just write, “Yo, Uncle Joe, ease up on the oil and gas industry. US energy is good energy,” and you’re done.
Personally, I am going to be a nut and start writing to the President every day. So if you don’t think Scarlett Johansson deserves a high government/cabinet-level post, you better start writing to the President and putting in your two cents.
Oh, and by the way, that same contact form lets you select the Vice-President as well, and Kamala can’t receive more than a dozen letters a day, so you’d really have power if you wrote to her.
Sometimes, my genius…it’s terrifying.