Litkicks Message Board Archive

Something I have observed...

Posted to Poetry and Politics




Without going into detail, I work for a State agency which is involved in helping people. Most of the time. We often get complaints because the government "red tape" is so slow.

Sometimes, the comlaints we get are about policies we have no control over, policies out of Tallahassee, our state capitol. I have suggested many, many times to people that if they are interested in changing a certain policy, they should write to their Congressmen, or the State Legislature, or the governor. Several times I have ended up receiving a copy of the letter they wrote as it is passed down the "chain of command" to my lowly position.

Almost every time, the letters do not address the overall problem. The people who write the letters simply address their current frustration from having to wait so long for government services without talking about the overall problem. Instead of saying, for example, "Pregnant mothers, a a rule, should be approved for Medicaid without being required to name the child's father" the letter writer will say, "I want to complain. I've been waiting for my medicaid to be approved. I'm not sure who the father is so the State is taking their time." The congressmen, senators, governor's office - all they do is read the letters and pass them on to someone to follow up on later.
Eventually we do whatever it is we are supposed to do, so Tallahassee can write off that letter as "one more problem solved." The people think their letter did the trick. In reality, we would have gotten to it anyway, without the letter.

The point is, nobody has the big picture in mind. Their letters are never for sweeping changes that would benefit everyone. Instead of 100 letters all making one point, they are 100 individual cries for attention to their own plight.

Things don't get changed because the government doesn't see all this correspondence as uniformly related.
Only a few really good congressmen may sort all this out and see connections.