The New York Times reports today that it just got much harder for us to contact our President. Rather than accepting simple e-mails, people with something to say now have to complete several pages of webforms including questions regarding our agreement with Bush policies, and then reply to an autoresponder to confirm our e-mail address. This is a substantial barrier to that pesky ol’ civic engagement. The obvious fact is that the White House – and an increasing number of federal and state legislators – doesn’t want to hear from you. And what do you think of that?
I just went to check out the situation at their website and was disturbed to find that it looks like someone hacked CNN. That is, the site acts as a news service more than a public government agency. So after seeking around for a while, I found a tiny contact link at the bottom of a page. On the resulting page I clicked the link that says White House Web Mail, and I got an error message.
I clicked a few more times and I eventually got a page with all the graphics broken and a seriously disturbing form! This is what it actually says (lines between each page of the form, my comments in italic):
- Please select your message type:
I want to write a supporting comment or write a differing opinion to President George W. Bush
- Please choose a subject:
For each choice you MUST choose a provided sub-topic. There is no "other."
- Please provide your full name:
Prefix required, of course.
- Please provide your address:
- Please provide your e-mail address:
- Please type your letter and then select “Continue.”
- Please review your submission.
- Would you like to make an additional submission?
So of course I wrote a “supporting comment:”
Congratulations on your new web-mail-form system! I love how the very first question asks whether the person agrees with you or not. That way you can easily sort all the junk into the “circular file” without wasting any valuable staff time, right?
By refusing to accept e-mail and erecting such comprehensive barriers to communication, you have once again stifled the voice of the American people. You must be proud of how thoroughly you have eroded the democratic system by outlawing the kind of civil dissent our nation was founded on.
Keep up the good work. At this rate I’m sure I will be able to stop voting entirely soon. Or is that, I will not be allowed to? Oh well. I sign off, your loyal American patriot.
I am a little concerned that doing this will re-activate my FBI file, which has probably been dormant since I graduated from college about 10 years ago. Oh well, it’s long past time for looking out for ourselves. It’s time to make some sacrifices before our hands are completely tied – metaphorically or literally.