The above is a letter from State Representative Chris Latvala who represents District 67 here in Florida. In the interest of privacy I can't tell you who wrote the original note to Rep. Latvala, but it wasn't me. It was someone in the family, however. The original, apparently, expressed concern over guns on campus. After the Newtown children's massacre I expressed, on Facebook, some hope for reforms or control over gun sales and received a firestorm of invectives and scorn that, frankly, has kept me off Facebook for some time now. But that's another post. This post will concern itself over mealy-mouth, hot-air political non-speak.
- Let's take a look at the response from Re. Latvia. First, notice that there is no salutation. No Dear Mr. or Dear Ms. or even Constituent. The letter just launches into the response which says this is a form letter response.
- Secondly, the original note was NOT a post card. Who sends post cards anymore? The original note was an email. Another clue that this is a non-personal form letter response.
- Interestingly, the subject is mentioned, only peripherally, in the first sentence. But, as you will see, it is never mentioned again.
- In the second and third sentences, Rep. Latvala condescendingly agrees that it is a complex issue and then says he is happy to hear from voters. That seems to be the extent of it. There is no indication that Rep. Latvala is for or against anything - total non- commitment, all the better to not lose a precious vote.
The rest is further thanks for and assurances that he will consider the writer's thoughts regarding any future legislation. All in all it was a name-pamby response designed not to alienate a prospective voter. A form letter that, in 80 words, says nothing. Reveals nothing. Stands for nothing.
You want to know why people are so put off by politics these days? This letter is just one symptom of a larger, wider problem with modern American politics. You think Everett Dirksen, Bob Michel or Hubert Humphrey would have put out such vacuous blather like the above? No, they were a generation of politico who treated their constituents as equals, as thinking individuals rather than a specific demographic where every word is parsed in such a way as to be generic and vanilla, because, after all, another election is just a few months away. It is all about job retention and non-governance.
I went to Mr. Latvala's website and saw that on his biography the last sentence reads, "No one will work harder..." I'm sure he is a nice and hard working man, but maybe a little more time and thought in dictating letters to his constituents would be in order.