I just sent this via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, the autoresponse is below. If I get a substantive reply, I’ll post it here.
Dear Mister President,
I read in the news of the changes to your policies on how people can contact you online. I have a few areas of concern about this new policy. The biggest is that if you no longer accept messages through this e-mail address, it will be very much harder for people to reach you. I’m sure you realize that frequent and vigorous contact with the people you serve is a cornerstone of representative democracy.
The web form is quite onerous, especially for people with slow Internet connections. In addition, your PDF-formatted response is not accessible to everyone. Having your own computer with Adobe Acrobat on it shouldn’t be a requirement for civic engagement. What about folks using public computers in libraries where they cannot add extra software?
The first page in which you ask the disposition and topic of the writer was quite shocking to me. If nothing else, the first question (I am writing a “supporting comment/differing opinion”) will have a chilling effect on dissent. Any social studies teacher will remind us that our country was founded on the need for citizens to have effective channels to express their opinions (be they positive, negative, or simply questioning) about their government and it’s policies.
Finally, your provided topics are quite limited. What choices are available for someone who wants to discuss the domestic economy or unemployment? In fact, my comment itself doesn’t fit into your categories, hence I am forced to write you directly via e-mail. May I suggest that you add an “Other” topic to let citizens know that all comments are welcome.
Thank you for your time and service to the country.
313 Sunset Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
The heartfelt reply from Autoresponder@WhiteHouse.GOV [sic]:
Thank you for e-mailing President Bush. Your ideas and comments are very
important to him.
Because of the large volume of e-mail received, the President cannot personally
respond to each message. However, the White House staff considers and reports
citizen ideas and concerns.
In addition to President@WhiteHouse.gov, we have developed White House Web
Mail, an automated e-mail response system. Please access
http://www.whitehouse.gov/webmail to submit comments on a specific issue.
Additionally, we welcome you to visit our website for the most up-to-date
information on current events and topics of interest to you.