Dear Governor Walker,
I was initially going to write to you to ask some questions about your recent legislation— in particular, the voter identification law and your proposition to deny hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples, but it occurred to me that you haven’t responded to my e-mail from February 22,2011 addressing your intent to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. This made me question whether or not my efforts to write you again would be futile. While waiting to hear from you, I’ve been following all sorts of news in anticipation of finding a logical rationale to your motive; but, as you are probably well aware, the media can be a less than reliable source of information. This, governor, is why countless friends, colleagues, acquaintances and I have decided to go directly to you for answers.
I’ve been waiting 77 days for your response. While I’m only 26 years-old, and can only tally the number of jobs I’ve held on one hand, I have yet to encounter a job where it is permissible to allow this length of time to pass before addressing an inquiry from a client. In fact, in my present job, I can be reprimanded for not returning a phone call, letter or e-mail within 24 business hours. In the event I need more time to compose a thoughtful, informed response because a situation requires special tact, sensitivity, or resources I must acquire, I'm necessitated to acknowledge the writer in a short personal message indicating that her message is important, and I will address all points as soon as I am able. This, of course, eases the writer’s mind and communicates that her concern is legitimate. Even if it seems superfluous to me, it is my duty to attempt to understand his point of view and address it, nonetheless. My workplace has enforced this policy so as to hold its faculty to the highest professional regard. After all, it's what I'm paid to do.
I imagine the demands as a governor are greater than I can possibly fathom. Though as fathomed by an English teacher, maybe they aren't. I imagine, like me, that your job extends well beyond the workday, and, like me, you often lie awake late into the night questioning whether the decisions you make every day in your job are, indeed, the best ones; also, like me, I imagine you constantly search for ways to thoughtfully address the needs and concerns of the people you are paid (and elected) to serve.
Since I am only one of your constituents with one letter, I’m not offended that you haven’t found the time to address my e-mail. Maybe it became lost in the abyss of cyberspace; maybe, as you were contemplating my points, you spilled coffee on your keyboard which launched a much more urgent debacle, and you simply forgot about it. Maybe a computer virus wiped it out. Some of these are circumstances beyond your control. I am, however, skeptical that this has also happened to the letters and e-mails of every single person I know who has written to you.
Given the sheer volume of mail you must receive and the likelihood that it is simply humanly impossible to address each one in the personal manner that professionalism merits, I might suggest a simple televised address providing detailed answers and explanations to the most commonly asked questions. Maybe this could be a regular occurrence (with a possibility of contributing to your goal of 250,000 jobs?). I feel this might provide some degree of relief to those who are trying to reach you, but can’t, and also relieve your inbox and mailbox of redundant materials.
It could very well be that the task of properly addressing the abundant concerns of your constituents prevents you from adequately executing the many other demands of your job. As is the case in every other profession of which I’m aware, if an individual is unable to sufficiently perform all tasks of his or her job, that individual is asked to resign. If I feel I cannot perform all aspects of my job due to stress, anxiety, or a general sense of overwhelming, I have a personal duty to myself and a professional duty to my students and colleagues to allow a more capable individual to take my place.
Furthermore, if you are receiving such a high volume of negative mail that you simply cannot personally address each writer in a prompt, passable way, it is a clear reflection of your competency and professionalism. That said, please use the content of your mailboxes, either electronic or otherwise, as a gauge of your performance and take the necessary steps to alleviate anxiety and stress on yourself as well as the citizens you've neglected.
Before I bring my most recent points of distress to your attention, I'm attaching a second copy of my February 22nd e-mail with the expectation that you will respond to it in a way that is not vague, dismissive, or automated. Moving forward, it is my hope that in responding to citizens in a way that is prompt, personal, and thoughtful, you will improve communication and, therefore, begin to build trust and support with the skeptics of your constituency.