Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
My friend (my very good personal friend), Charles Akin is overly optimistic in his advice to contact U.S. lawmakers about pending or in force legislation. During the run-up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I tried in vain to offer a practical alternative to every actor on the scene and to some of their relatives. I wrote letters and emails to every participant in the debates. And I got not one reply.
It is a well known fact that anyone can address email to the White House or to members of Congress. It is less well known that those emails go directly into the electronic wastebasket. They are never read. And while paper mail may elicit a letter in response, you can be sure that no one with any influence in any congressional office ever sees it. If you want a machine generated, machine signed but content-free letter on congressional letterhead, waste a stamp on any member of Congress.
I’m sorry, friend Charles, but if you want to catch the ear of your congressperson or the president, you’ll need to bring a stash of cash that will fill a wheelbarrow. Otherwise, there isn’t a chance of being heard.
With regard to the Patriot Act, an important but commonly overlooked fact is that this law, which is over 700 typewritten pages long, appeared out of nowhere just days after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Think about it . . . It had to have been drafted prior to the attacks. Someone (just who is anybody’s guess), had this all prepared in advance and was just waiting for the right moment to bring it to light.