As any lawmaker who has had the temerity to venture a passing glance at their official government email account knows, IT’S EMAIL SEASON!
Look, I get it. You need to tell your clients to send in emails. Everyone loves a good lobbying effort coupled with a grassroots feel. And while every single person on the planet knows (or should know) it has limited impact, we persist nonetheless. There is no doubt that calls, texts and posting on the Twitters or BookFace can be far more effective; yet so many email campaigns persist perhaps because it is just so darn easy.
Check the box.
“Send those emails.” “Lawmakers need to hear our voices.” “Don’t let your voice go unheard.”
There are times during Session when a typical legislative inbox looks like the Nantahala; message after message cascading across the screen immediately replaced by the next and the next and the next. It used to be that at least somebody read the subject lines, but now so many of them come in so fast, they are a blur.
Maybe the highest utility of getting clients to send emails is to give them something to do. You justify it by imagining that a legislative staffer will tally them up (375 automated emails in favor of Made In America flags, 1 against) or maybe an intern will attempt to ride the rapids for a while, read a sampling and create a memo. Maybe someone will even scan that memo.
But when the subject lines start with, “From Write Your Representative,” you not only render your efforts moot, you make yourself an annoying irritant – no “maybe” about it.
And when the text opens with, “I DEMAND you explain to me right now…” (This is especially nutty when the email is sent without a reply mechanism), or, “I live in Texas and heard you were sponsoring a bill to…” you have crossed the Rubicon of absurdity.
I was given access to a recent flood of such emails that were not only bizarre, but reinforced to the recipient that the clients were borderline insane (and not one lived anywhere close to the district).
“Cancel this Bill Immediately. I am coming, & I will not stop.”
“If you continue with this madness, I will be starting a media revival against all of this.”
“PLEASE just listen to us. I was a pharmacy technician at a Walgreens and became addicted to Norco.”
A “media revival”? What is that anyway?
Go ahead. Tell your clients you are making a difference. Leave no stone unturned. Do everything necessary to win. Put your minions to work. Or at least get them off your back so you can do some actual lobbying.
But please, do everyone a favor and try to limit these emails to people who are at least reasonably close to the same county as the lawmaker. And while you are at it, demand that your clients not threaten people or sound like insane lunatics.
We all have a job to do, please stop making everyone else’s that much harder.
Paddle faster Jethro, I hear banjo music.
Peter Schorsch is a new media publisher and political consultant based in St. Petersburg, Fla. Column courtesy of Context Florida.