Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Screaming Into the [Political] Wind. Or, Why I Am Disenfranchised

Below is an email I sent to Hillary Headquarters. It is self explanatory, I think. By posting it, I am ensuring my eyes aren’t the only ones that reach the bottom. It makes me feel a little better.

When the CIA starts tapping my phone calls, this letter will probably be the reason why. I reread it and thought, "It doesn't sound like it was written by a maniac,” but who knows what secret clues they look for in email missives. Besides, we all have our own definitions of maniac.

Lest you think I have too much time on m hands, I pounded this out in about ten minutes. Thus the repetitiveness.

Above is a picture of me at the White House a few years back. Guess I won’t be invited there anytime soon.


Recently I received an email from here asking me to respond and write about how the economic catastrophe is affecting my family. In turn, the email said, I would be told how Hillary Clinton’s economic policies/ideas could help my family.

So I responded. And I wrote a lot—probably more than anyone wanted to read—but it felt good to have the chance to unpack the ideas in my head and process the myriad ways a multitude of bad decisions on the current administration’s part has affected my life.

As I hit “send,” part of me thought, I am just screaming into the wind. No one really reads these emails and no one really cares about my bottom line but me and my family. The other part of me thought, wow, a politician has asked ME about how the economy affects MY life. A politician—a person we will elect to make decision on behalf of us—actually cares and wants to listen. I felt that renewed sense of hope that has eluded me for most of the past seven years.

But then, no response. I didn’t think about for a while, but after a few weeks, then more, I became very disappointed and disenfranchised again.

I am a realistic person. I know this wasn’t a personal email from Hillary. I know that her campaign officials aren’t sitting around a table saying, “You know what? Let’s email Jennifer and see how she is doing. Let’s get HER opinions on matters before we move forward.” And I know Hillary wasn’t sitting around saying “Did she email back yet? Did she respond??” Emails, though, they play tricks on you. You feel a sense of connection, a personal connection, even when you know an email is being sent to millions.

But I did expect, at the very least, some sort of canned response. Would it have been so difficult to send out an automatic reply cc’d to everyone with some of the fine points of Hillary’s economic plan? Something pithy but poignant, short and sweet. Something that said in a simple way “We hear and we cared.” Isn't this what Mail Merge was created for?

Yes, we voters are a needy bunch. But a silly little economic free-write email gave me hope again, and then snatched it back. I know, it seems extreme, my reaction to this, but these are precarious times and we voters out here feel vulnerable. There are many ways to feel disenfranchised and marginalized. I am looking to hitch my hope on anything, and, believe it or not, that email was something.

I am a democrat, through and through, and at New York’s primary, I voted for Hillary. At election time, I will vote for whoever gets the party’s nomination, and I hope it is Hillary. I realize I am expendable now, and no one at her campaign headquarters has the need or impetus to sway me because I am firmly in her camp already. It’s just sad, though, because for a fraction of a second I felt that hope again. I felt the tide changing and I felt a difference and it felt so good to believe again. And, yes, one silly little emailed request for my economic story did all of that for me. Like I said, we voters are a needy, vulnerable, desperate-for-something bunch.

I know that even now I am just screaming into the wind again. I don’t expect a reply. I imagine that not a single set of eyes but my own have reached the bottom of this letter. But I wanted to get this off my chest. And now I can get back to my life.



Shelli said...

I filled out a "contact us" form on her site, asking for a blog button, like the other guy had, and never received a response.

SO I kind of made my own, but Narda went and volunteered for them on Super Tuesday, and brought home a bunch of stickers, and Malka was happy.

So ultimately, Hillary made Malka happy.

But I'm still bitter that I never got a response, despite almost daily e-mails for contributions.


psapph0 said...

Wow...even in a time of huge political unrest in the US, political posts garner only one response. Amazing.

Hmmmm.... why Hilary? I'm in the Obama camp... not terribly strongly, I'll admit. But Hilary has failed to capture my imagination. What draws you to her?