They Still Aren't Listening

by Deck Deckert

June 9, 2003


My wife and I recently moved from one end of the country to the other and everything changed. We went from hot to cold, flat land to hills, puny palms to towering cedars, steaming sandy beaches to snow-covered mountains.

But one thing apparently hasn't changed a bit. 'My' politicians aren't listening.

In Florida I had sent a series of letters and e-mails to my two senators and representative. Among other things, I urged that aid to Israel be curtailed until the settlements were removed; I complained about Congressional support for war in Afghanistan; I expressed outrage at the giveaway of Congressional powers by handing over to President Bush the 'right' to wage war on Iraq -- and anyone else -- on his whim.

In response to my comments on curtailing aid to Israel, both my Florida senators sent me nearly identical form letters telling me they shared my concern for Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

My letters on the 'War on Terrorism' began with the question: "Is Congress, are YOU, going to allow Bush to bring us eternal war against the whole world?" Apparently the answer was "yes" as both my senators and my representative thanked me for endorsing their support for the war. (It's true that Florida Sen. Bob Graham later voted against war with Iraq, but only because he had other targets in mind.)

Things would be different here in the progressive state of Washington, I thought naïvely. I was sure that Washington state politicians would not only be more enlightened, they would be more responsive. They would listen to what I had to say and respond with pertinent comments, either pro or con.

So when the FCC made clear its intentions to allow even greater concentration of the media, I e-mailed both my Washington senators and my representative demanding that they take steps to curtail this dangerous threat to democracy.

The result? Silence.

I tried again. I sent e-mail letters demanding the impeachment of Bush for his lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction and other war crimes, as well as his assaults on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

My representative, and one senator never answered. I did receive a form letter reply from Sen. Patty Murray that was breathtaking in its banality and its total irrelevance to what I had written.

Remember as you read her reply that I had proposed the impeachment of Bush for his actions in Iraq.
Dear Mr. Deckert

Thank you for contacting me regarding the war in Iraq and its aftermath. It was good to hear from you on this important issue.

Like all Americans, I am pleased that the heaviest fighting in Iraq has ended. I am proud of our troops who fought bravely and successfully to remove Saddam Hussein's regime. We must never forget those Americans who lost their lives in this conflict or the combat veterans who return home with serious health problems.

We must now focus on the reconstruction of Iraq, the formation of a new Iraqi government and the continuation of our fight against terrorist organizations around the world. While the heaviest fighting has ended, it will likely be many months before the entire country is safe and free of sporadic violence that threatens our troops still in Iraq as well as the Iraqi people.

The end of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship has provided a tremendous opportunity for the Iraqi people to shape their future. In the days ahead we must keep our promise to help the Iraqi people build a strong democracy, one where they control their own future and their own resources. I am concerned that the Administration still has not realized the true costs of Iraq's reconstruction, nor the time which it will take to secure Iraq's peaceful future. Just as our nation is committed to winning the War in Iraq, we must remain committed to winning the peace in Iraq.

The reconstruction of Iraq will be difficult and expensive. I am hopeful that we can work with the international community to provide the aid and resources that the Iraqi people will need in the future. I believe that the United Nations should have a role in Iraq's reconstruction. By sharing our commitment to Iraq's future with the international community we can alleviate much of the financial burden of Iraq's reconstruction and help repair our relationships with the rest of the world.

Once again, thank you for writing. Please keep in touch.


Patty Murray
United States Senator

Please continue to visit my website ( http//murray.senate.gov ) for updated information on my work for the people of Washington State.
Apparently her "work for the people of Washington State" doesn't include actually listening to them.

I don't give up all that easily, so I hit 'reply' and sent a sharp retort. It bounced. All e-mail, I learned, has to go through her web site where it is more easily channeled -- and ignored.

I sent the reply again via the web site, with the subject line "Pablum in response to my e-mail":
Dear Sen. Murray

You wrote:
>I am proud of our troops who fought bravely and successfully to
>remove Saddam Hussein's regime. We must never forget those
>Americans who lost their lives in this conflict or the combat
>veterans who return home with serious health problems.
You are proud that we staged an illegal, immoral and unconstitutional attack on a helpless people?

You are proud that Congress cravenly refused to accept its constitutional duty to declare war and gave the president carte blanche to wage war on his whim?

You are proud that our president lied to us about his reasons for this war?

It is time for Congress to accept its responsibilities and IMPEACH BUSH for his multiple crimes against the American people, the Constitution and the innocent people of Iraq.

Impeach Bush now!
I haven't received a reply to that yet, but I suspect I'll get another -- or the same -- form letter thanking me for my comments about Iraq.

I misspoke when I said I used the subject line "Pablum in response to my e-mail." Miss Patty's website doesn't allow you to type in your own subject line. It has to be one from a list: Abortion, Aging, Agriculture, AIDS...Veterans, Welfare, Women.

Having the approved list, I suspect, allows the senator's aides to pick the correct form-letter reply without even having to read your comments.

We lost control of our democracy a long time ago to corporations and other members of the ruling elite. Our politicians aren't listening to us because we don't matter. They only dance with who brung them. And who brung them were corporations and individuals who can make bribes, affectionately known as 'campaign contributions', in five figures.

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Main Media & Propaganda on Swans

Iraq on Swans

The Balkans and Yugoslavia on Swans


Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.

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Published June 9, 2003
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