Predictably unpredictable

Today I wrote to both my state representatives about an issue. On the official form for sending email to legislators, you have to choose whether or not you want to receive a reply. “How is this up to me?” I wondered. I want to hear from them if they have something to say. If they have nothing to say, why would I want to hear from them?

Stymied, I decided to have it both ways. I told one legislator that no reply was needed, and on the other message I checked the Yes button. In a postscript to both messages I explained that of course I wanted to hear from them if they had something to say on the subject, but that otherwise no reply was necessary.

About 20 seconds after I submitted the no-reply-needed message, a staffer replied, telling me basically nothing and adding that “we do read all constituent messages and strive to respond to all in a timely manner.” I wrote back, suggesting that she ask to have that useless option removed from the email form. She did not answer.

I got no reply to my email requesting a reply.


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