Should Congress Members Use E-mail?

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So I ran across this pretty scathing editorial in the Washington Post, decrying Senators that don’t use e-mail. This, apparently, makes them out of touch.

And you know what, I would agree that some members of Congress are out of touch with your average American. But I don’t think using e-mail would make them anymore in touch. No, they are out of touch because of where they come from and the lives they lead. Using e-mail wouldn’t suddenly make them in touch with the family struggling to put food on the table or the mom facing the tough decision of having to return to work after only six weeks since maternity leave in the US is atrocious or the homeless person  spending the night on the street. This is not to say that there aren’t good members of Congress out there – there are certainly plenty. But there also are those who are very out of touch with what the American people want.

And because the other part of the thing is that I don’t care how they communicate. I know they have offices full of staffers helping them interact with the public, who answer phones, read e-mails, and talk to people. And since when did e-mail become the best thing for communication ever on the face of the earth? I will be honest, I read and check my e-mail all the time, but I am probably the worst when it comes to replying to e-mail. I always put it off and then it becomes the thing where so long has passed that it’s awkward to reply so then you don’t reply. Yeah, it’s a bad habit. That’s not my point – my main point actually is that things written in e-mail can be hard sometimes to discern the tone or the real meaning of things. There’s no facial expressions or body language. It may be a quick form of communication, but that doesn’t make it the best form of the communication.

Besides that, some people are slow typists. For them, e-mail may not be an efficient mode of communication. If someone would rather handwrite or pick up a phone or -gasp- talk to someone face to face, why should that be frowned upon? I am 100 percent positive they all have staffers who help them do their work and communicate with the public. It shouldn’t be such a horrible thing if they don’t use e-mail. It’s just e-mail.

What do you think?

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