Washington Post article on congressional web forms

I posted about this over the weekend.

Today, the Washington Post has an article about the issue (free registration required).

This passage just proves that the problem is ignorance…on the Congressional end.

From lawmakers’ perspective, the new barrier is a good way to block millions of cookie-cutter lobby letters that are conceived and created by giant trade associations, labor unions and the like. According to some lawmakers, these often-identically worded missives too often come from people who don’t live in the congressman’s districts or who don’t even know that messages have been sent in their names. In other words, these pleas are either misdirected or fraudulent.

“too often”? Pul-leaze. Data please. Most, if not all, organizations that use these systems are smart enough to click the little button that links the constituent’s home address to the elected the email is going to. And for every person who says that an email was sent without their knowledge, I’d bet there are 10,000 who sent that email believing in the issue they are being vocal about.

As I said, just because someone is clicking a button on a website doesn’t mean that the issue doesn’t matter to them. How dare they call the communication “meaningless” instead of finding ways to validate the fact that every communication initiated from a constituent matters?!?

It takes weeks for paper letters to arrive, the phone lines are often hard to get through…how else are we supposed to communicate with the people we elect? Carrier pidgeon? Congress complains about lobbyists…but they’re the ones who actually show up at the door so they’re the only ones Congress hears. It’s like living in a room lit by a single lamp and then complaining about the lack of light of the world. You put yourself in a situation where you’re only exposed to what you’re letting yourself see. Step outside, take a new view and then see if there’s still what to complain about. The people are speaking to them directly…Congress is just not listening!!

On a single day last week, of the 8,262 times the logic puzzle was viewed in the House, only 1,568 people answered it and moved on to send a message — a 19 percent success rate. It’s unknowable whether this means that computers could not crack the code or whether actual humans were frustrated and gave up (though there were probably a combination of both).